At a Mass in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary on 7th October at the Rosary Shrine, Haverstock Hill, Bishop John Wilson encouraged the faithful present to ‘pray the Rosary often’, echoing the words of St Pio of Pietrelcina.
‘As the beads move through our fingers, we pray with Mary as she shows and leads the way to Christ. Moving through the scenes of salvation, Mary guides us into tender intimacy with Jesus,’ he said.
‘We come as students to the school of Mary to be taught to pray,’ he explained. ‘Our Blessed Lady shows us how to live according to God’s promise. She witnesses how to receive Jesus into our lives and hearts. She mirrors how to follow him as faith-filled disciples.
‘Through our prayerful repetition Mary, who received Christ within her womb, invites us to enthone him in our heart. The Rosary is the remembrance of God’s promise’, a ‘lavish promise, cast out from the cross into human history and beyond.’
He added: ‘No matter how spiritually firm or flimsy we might feel, we continue, with Mary, as the pilgrim people of God’s promise.’
Speaking of the recent ad limina visit of the Bishops of England and Wales, Bishop John explained that he had asked Pope Francis about his devotion to Our Lady, Untier of Knots. In response, the Holy Father ‘spoke movingly about his simple trust in the power of Our Lady’s prayers to untie the knots of life, the difficult situations that affect the world, the Church, other people and ourselves. “To some it may sound naïve,” he said, “but I pray.”’
Reiterating the Pope’s request to the faithful, Bishop John said: ‘if you take away one thing today, it is this: pray the Rosary often,’ a message which he repeated again at the end of Mass, before he blessed roses that were distributed to everyone present.
Concelebrating the Mass were Fr Thomas Skeats OP and Fr Oliver Oliver Keenan OP.
At the end of Mass, Fr Thomas announced plans for a new Rosary Garden of the Luminous Mysteries to be built on derelict land behind the Lady Chapel. The garden will complement the traditional fifteen decades of the Rosary that are represented in each of the Shrine chapels. It will feature a Rosary-shaped path, encircling artistic representations of the Mysteries of Light, plants in honour of Mary, and a newly-commissioned statue of Our Lady. It is hoped the garden will be opened on the feast of St Dominic, 24th May 2019.
Speaking of this latest development, Fr Thomas explained: ‘As we are now in our second year as the Diocesan Rosary Shrine, we are looking for appropriate ways to continue to develop the Shrine and to welcome ever more people.’
The full text of Bishop John's homily is available here.
Additional photos from the Mass are available here.