This Sunday (the 7th of October) we are celebrating our feast day, the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, the patron saint of our parish community. Perhaps it is providential or coincidental that this Sunday readings are all about marriage life which naturally and essentially links with family life.
I have to say that this parish community has become my family. The more I live and work here, getting to know more people in the parish, the more I feel like one of you. You are not only parishioners or community members, but friends who know one another and families who are ready to jump in and help when someone is in need. It is just beautiful to see and experience this unique spirit. But of course, family is never perfect – you know better than me. We are different, we disagree, we argue. It is part of being family, being close to one another. But what has kept us going in these challenges, I think, is our faithfulness – keep praying and keep doing what we are called to do in the community.
Nearly every morning on the weekdays before mass, I often sit in the pews (whether to have a bit of quiet time or to prepare myself for preaching or celebrating mass later on) and hear the familiar people praying the usual rosary without fail (I don’t want to mention their names in case they get shy!!!). Quite a few people, even young ones, have told me that at times when they get stressed out, praying the rosary helps them calm down for the moment. If you have prayed this prayer long and deeply enough, you will probably find it no longer a kind of verbal prayer but a contemplative prayer for our hearts and beings. It impacts on how you feel, how you love and who you are. I felt it when praying the rosary as a little boy growing up in Vietnam.
The feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary used to be called the feast day of Our Lady of Victories – marking the impossible Christian war victory over the Turkish army at Lepanto (Italy) in 1571. However, praying the rosary has never meant to merely gain win over military battle. Hopefully we no longer think in this line. Praying the rosary is entering the mysteries of Christ’s life, mission, suffering, death and resurrection through the eyes of Mary, his and our mother. The victory that the rosary can give us is the victory of God – God’s grace to us in the midst of our challenges and difficulties in our marriage life, our communal life with one another.
Happy feast day!!!
Fr Khoi msc