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All can work towards becoming champions of the Rosary Print
Guest column

Sue Barry

There are many books and resources for people to use to learn not only how to say the Rosary, but how to go deeper into the history and development of the Rosary over many centuries.

October, the month of the Rosary, is almost over, but don't let that stop you from taking up the challenge to learn to pray the Rosary -- or if you're already a Rosary Warrior -- to learn more and take the devotion to a new level.

In his book, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon (published in 2016), Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, expands on the necessity of wielding this spiritual weapon today more than ever. He continues where St. Louis de Montfort left off when he wrote what some feel is the greatest book ever written on the Rosary, The Secret of the Rosary.

Why another book?

Father Calloway explains in his introduction to the book why he was compelled, in part, to write another book on the Rosary, knowing that de Montfort's book, written in the early 18th century, was so influential.

"As an itinerant preacher and Third Order Dominican, he loved the Rosary and used it as a spiritual sword to combat the many theological errors in circulation in his time. The Rosary was his sword, catechetical tool, and secret for re-evangelizing fallen away Catholics. It had -- and still has -- the power to bring souls back to Christ and his Church.

"Today we find ourselves confronting a similar situation. The world is fraught with immorality and darkness, and in need of being re-evangelized."

Father Calloway said that "three centuries have gone by since St. Louis de Montfort penned his monumental work, and many miracles, victories, conversions, developments . . . and champions of the Rosary need to be added to the sword for the people of our times."

Compelling conversion story

One of those conversion stories is his own compelling transformation story from being a soul-sick, drug-addicted, sin and crime laden youth to becoming a Rosary warrior and falling in love with Jesus and Catholicism.

"The Rosary helped me turn from a life of sin to a life of freedom," Father Calloway confides. "It gave me the courage to surrender my heart, mind, and soul completely to Jesus and his Church. The Virgin Mary and her Rosary saved my life."

Champions of the Rosary

In Father Calloway's book, he not only gives one of the most detailed and complete historical accounts of the Rosary century by century, but he also details the lives of 26 champions of the Rosary from St. Dominic to Pope Benedict XVI.

Many of those champions are well known to devout Catholics, such as St. John Paul II, who in 2002 introduced the Luminous Mysteries -- the Mysteries of Light -- into the litany of mysteries (Glorious, Joyful, and Sorrowful Mysteries) originally given to St. Dominic by the Virgin Mary; the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen; Servant of God Lucia Dos Santos (one of the Fatima shepherd children to whom Mary appeared in 1917); St. Pio of Pietrelcina (known as Padre Pio), to name a few.

Praying the Word of God

Father Calloway says, "To pray the Rosary is to pray the Word of God. What better devotional prayers could ever be said then the 'Our Father' and the 'Hail Mary'? The words of the 'Our Father' come from the lips of Jesus Christ himself. The words of the Angelic Salutation were uttered on God's behalf by a holy angel (St. Gabriel).

"God has providentially arranged for the majority of the prayers recited in the Rosary to be directed to Mary, because it is through her that the world received the instrument of our salvation, the flesh of the God-Man."

"The Rosary will make you an armed soldier, a sword-wielding knight on the battlefield of life. A Rosary a day keeps the devil away," he said.

Stories of miracles

Father Calloway tells the stories of many miracles and discoveries related to the praying of the Rosary throughout history, but one that stands out for us today happened in Chile in 2010.

When 33 miners were trapped in an underground mine for 69 days, Pope Benedict XVI personally blessed 33 Rosaries and sent them to the miners so that they could pray the Rosary and know that Mary was with them.

The blessed Rosaries were sent down the small shaft to the men. They prayed the Rosary and wore them around their necks. Miraculously, all 33 men survived and were rescued from the mine on October 13, the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima.

Father Calloway says in his book, according to Msgr. Alfred Kibeho, one of Pope Francis' secretaries, the only time the pope stops working is to say the Rosary. Pope Francis encourages priests, families, and children to pray the Rosary every day, too.

'Spiritual sword'

The Church and her faithful are under attack by a world so hostile to Jesus Christ and his mysteries, Father Calloway summarizes. "The times are so serious that the spiritual sword of the Rosary must find itself in the hands of new champions."

It needs to be taken into the front lines of the battle in order to combat the following threats and conquer them with truth and mercy: abortion, homosexual "marriage," contraception, divorce, pornography, euthanasia, suicide, the occult, lukewarm Catholics, and radical Islam.

Pray diligently

It is true, he says, that most people become easily distracted when praying the Rosary. But he explains, "A person will learn many virtues by perseverance in praying the Rosary, and over time, will acquire the ability to become less distracted and more focused on the mysteries."

Father Calloway also quotes Dolindo Ruotolo, who offers consoling and encouraging words for people who struggle in this area, "To know how to pray is a gift of God. It is part of the gift of piety, a gift of the Holy Spirit. With diligent practice every day, it is possible to succeed in reciting the holy Rosary worthily."

Perseverance, Father Calloway concludes, makes a champion. In his book, he challenges everyone who reads it to become a champion of the Rosary.