Explore our Blessed Mother’s life, from her birth, free of original sin, until her Assumption; and various devotions to Mary:
- First Saturdays
- Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Green Scapular of Our Lady
- Brown Scapular
- Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows
Living Catholicism is a ministry of broadcast, print, and digital media connecting our pilgrimage of daily life with the faith & teachings of the Catholic Church; produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope. It was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.
Originally printed as San Antonio Express-News “Belief” Column
The Roman Catholic Feast of the Holy Rosary on Oct. 7 offers an opportunity to introduce the rosary, an iconic image to some and a religious symbol to others, to all Christians and people of prayer.
While some people wear it as jewelry, the Catholic faithful see the rosary as the anchor to their prayer life, a revered string of 59 beads that begins and ends with the crucifix, Jesus Christ on the cross of salvation.
Any glossary of Catholic terms will tell you the rosary is a sacramental, a tangible object, which when blessed by a priest, carries with it a power strengthened by one’s faith. Like a talisman believed to have powers, a rosary is considered a special object and is often passed down through generations.
Like other sacramentals such as holy medals and prayer cards depicting saints, the rosary is cherished because it might have been used by a bearer throughout their prayer life. It’s not uncommon to see a Catholic buried with a rosary in hand as proof of their love for Jesus Christ.
One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my dear mother, praying the rosary every night before bed. Her prayers were always for friends and family, most especially her children. She prayed for our protection, success, good health and happiness, if it be God’s will.
That gives me great consolation and has instilled in me a deep interest in the rosary. The more I have learned about it, the more I have relied on it.
The rosary cord contains 59 beads separated into sections of 10 beads called decades. They come in all colors, sizes and styles.
Originally, it contained three sets of five mysteries, or events, in the life of Christ — the joyful ones surrounding his birth; the sorrowful events of his passion, or suffering; and the glorious events about his resurrection.
When first introduced, the rosary was popularized by illiterate Christians unable to read the Bible. The devotion was popularized also by the Dominican order in the 13th century; by the 16th century, it took the form used today.
In an apostolic letter in October 2002, Pope St. John Paul II — known as the pope of the rosary — recommended an additional set of mysteries, called the luminous mysteries, or the “mysteries of light,” that focus on Christ’s public ministry.
John Paul II said the rosary is a gospel prayer in which, with Mary, we contemplate the face of Jesus.
The words of the prayers — the Our Father and the Hail Mary — are scripturally based. The Hail Mary consists largely of Bible verses in the Gospel of Luke 1: 28-45 and reflect major moments in the lives of Jesus and Mary.
Even non-Catholics pray the rosary. “I’m a Methodist,” one said, “but I absolutely adore the rosary, and prayer beads of all kinds. I love that with a simple set of beads I can meditate on the entire life of Christ as seen by the woman through whom he is genetically related to the rest of us. Prayer beads help me focus my mind, something that is difficult at times.”
The rosary is a family prayer and a way to teach children about the life of Christ. It can be prayed in less than half an hour, and the beads enable you to free your mind from the task of counting.
For anyone seeking to grow closer to God through prayer, the rosary offers a path to a relationship with him. The rosary has given hope to many who feel lost or alone and is a source of hope and not superstition.
Robert V. Rodriguez is the public relations and outreach assistant at Pilgrim Center of Hope. He writes about the Catholic faith for TV, radio, blogs, print and social media.
Why do Catholics use, wear, and display crucifixes if Jesus has resurrected from the dead? Listen in as Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox discuss this popular question.
Catholicism Live! was a weekly series connecting issues of the faith and Church teachings to daily life produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from 2000-2019.
Alphonse Ratisbonne was a French Jew who was miraculously converted while at Rome in the Church of San Andrea della Frate. His brother had previously converted and become a Catholic priest, but Alphonse hated the Catholic church and vowed never to enter.
This is the story of the power of prayer and a miracle of grace. It is a powerful, delightful, and consoling story that every apostolic Catholic should know.
This is how Ratisbonne related his experience in the church that cold day in January of 1842. “All I can say is that the moment when the Blessed Virgin made a sign with her hand, the veil fell from my eyes; not one veil only, but all the veils which were wrapped around me disappeared, just as snow melts beneath the rays of the sun. I am asked how I attained a knowledge of these truths, since it is well known that I never opened a religious book, had never read a page of the Bible, and that the dogma of original sin, which is either denied or utterly forgotten by the modern Jews, had never for a single moment occupied my thoughts indeed, I doubt whether I had ever heard the words which express it. How, then, did I arrive at a knowledge of it? I know not. All that I know is that when I entered that church I was profoundly ignorant of everything, and that when I came out I saw everything clearly and distinctly.”
Baron de Bussieres states, “We have given in this volume a literal translation of the original accounts of the conversion of M. Alphonse Ratisbonne along with many other letters and documents relating to the miraculous conversion.”
Purchase this book at your local Catholic bookstore or online. Don’t forget – if you shop on Amazon, make sure to start at Smile.Amazon.com and request that Pilgrim Center of Hope receive a portion of your purchase at no cost to you. Thank you for your much-needed support of this ministry.
How often do we think of receiving a gift directly from Mary, the Mother of God?
Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox share Mary’s gifts from Heaven; how we obtained the Brown Scapular from Mary and about Our Lady of the Pillar. These gifts will remind us of the assurance of Mary’s maternal love for us.
You’ve probably seen the Miraculous Medal on a necklace or bracelet before, with Mary standing on a cloud, grace-filled light pouring from her hands. But do you know the history behind it?
Deacon Tom and Mary Jane talk about how this popular devotion started and spread throughout the world.
Related: Check out pictures from the Pilgrim Center of Hope’s 2011 Marian Pilgrimage, including the beautiful chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, which holds the incorrupt body St. Catherine Laboure!
Miraculous Medal Pamphlet — a short and informative document on the Miraculous Medal, created by Pilgrim Center of Hope.
The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal — a prayer family and resource hub for those interested in the Miraculous Medal.
How can a little piece of metal be called “miraculous”?
In November 2011, the Pilgrim Center of Hope organized and led a Marian Pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes and Shrines of Paris. One of those Shrines in Paris is located in the center of town on a street called Rue de Bac. It is there, where Mary, the Mother of God appeared to a nun in 1830 and gave her a unique mission – to have a medal made with the image Mary gave her. Learn why this mission since 1830 has been instrumental for thousands of healings, conversions and hope! Hear about a powerful conversion and this special sacramental, the miraculous medal.
- Official Website of the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Paris, France chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com
The Prayer of John Paul II in the Chapel of Rue De Bac
«Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. »
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. O Mary, this was the prayer that you gave to Saint Catherine Labouré in the Chapel of the Apparitions, more than one hundred and fifty years ago! […]
This invocation, engraved on the Miraculous Medal, is now worn and repeated by the faithful throughout the world!
Blessed are you among women!
You are intimately associated with the work of our Redemption, associated with the Cross of our Savior, your heart has been pierced, next to his heart. And now, in the glory of your Son, you never cease to intercede for us, poor sinners.
You watch over the Church for you are its Mother. You watch over each of your Children. From God, you obtain for us, all graces that are symbolized by the rays of light which radiate from your open hands, and the only condition that you demand of us is that we approach with the confidence, the hardiness, and the simplicity of a child. And it is thus that you bring us before your Divine Son.
John Paul II (1980)
Stay In Touch!
Stay informed about Pilgrim Center of Hope's upcoming events & receive spiritual tools through our monthly email newsletter.
Connect with Us
Keep Hope Alive
7680 Joe Newton
San Antonio, TX 78251-1409