|The group recitation of the Rosary during the Evening Prayer Program at the back alter of St. James Church|
One of the most beneficial aspects of the Medjugorje pilgrimage experience is the group recitation of the Rosary, recited every evening at the back alter of St. James Church. It begins one hour before the celebration of Mass that together with confessions, ushers in the Evening Prayer Program. During the summer months of June, July and August this begins at 18:00h (6:00pm) and from September 1, to May 31, it starts one hour earlier at 17:00h (5:00pm).
The Rosary is primarily led in Croatian with visiting priests invited to recite decades in various languages, serving as an accommodation to pilgrims in attendance from various countries around the world: Ireland, Australia, the United KIngdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain, just to name a few.
To recite the Rosary with so many like minded and dedicated "Rosary praying Catholics" in Medjugorje is an experience like no other. The devotion with which the Rosary is recited is such an encouragement that coupled with singing in between decades is so uplifting that I can barely use words to describe the feeling. After the recitation of the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries, the Litany of The Blessed Virgin Mary is sung which is so beautiful done, that it truly is one of the most special moments in Medjugorje.
|In prayer to Our Lady at Gospin Trg (Our Lady's Square)|
In addition to St. James Church, pilgrims recite the Rosary, both in group settings and on an individual basis, at various other locations: the Luminous Mysteries Mosaics, climbing up Apparition Hill (Brdo Ukazanja) and Cross Mountain (Krizevac), sitting by the Blue Crosses, in front of Our Lady's Statue at Our Lady's Square (Gospin Trg), walking through the fields and adjacent vineyards, inside St. James Church and just about anywhere else. No where in Medjugorje is there a larger gathering of faithful Catholics reciting the Rosary as there is every evening at the back alter of St. James Church.
|Prayer in front of the Luminous Mystery mosaic - The Institution of The Eucharist|
The recitation of the Rosary within a group setting is especially beneficial for many reasons; the details of which have been presented in St. Louis De Montfort's book, The Secret Of The Rosary, chapter (Rose) forty six, Group Recitation. Saint Louis De Montfort first introduces the most fundamental aspect of group recitation of the Rosary, "There are several ways of saying the Holy Rosary, but that which gives Almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the Rosary publicly in two groups." (96) He reinforces the significance of group recitation by reminding the faithful that Jesus expressly recommended common prayer to His apostles and disciples, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew18:20) Saint Louis De Montfort then adds to this by stating, "What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midst!" (96) This coupled with Our Lady's presence in Medjugorje, is sure to draw many blessings and graces upon pilgrims and others participating in the recitation of the Rosary.
Further to this in the same aforementioned chapter, St. Louis De Montfort lists a few key benefits of group recitation of the Rosary that I would also like to include:
- Our minds are far more alert during public prayer than private individual recitation
- With prayer in common, the prayer of each individual belongs to everyone and; thus, makes for a greater prayer in that, if one person is not praying well, someone else in the same gathering who prays better may make up for the deficiency. Those who are strong uphold the weak; those who are fervent inspire the lukewarm.
- When an individual recites the Rosary privately, that individual only gains the merit of one Rosary; but when recited within a group setting, every individual gains the merit of the group's recitation.
- Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer in appeasing God's anger and drawing His mercy upon the Church. This has always been advocated in times of public tragedy and suffering.
|Capturing the Divine Intimacy of praying the Rosary at Apparition Hill (Brdo Ukazanja)|
One of the final points I will include from St. Louis De Montfort is his note on the efficaciousness of group recitation of the Rosary when fighting the devil. Our Lady in Medjugorje has stated that the devil is strong and he is trying to destroy Her plans for the world. Our Lady has also stated that She wants our help:
Dear Children! I invite you to be an example to others in everything, especially in prayer and in testifying. Dear children, I cannot help the world without you. I want you to cooperate with me in everything, even in the least things. So, dear children, help me that your prayer may come from the heart and that you all may give yourselves up to me completely. In this way I shall be with you. Thank you for responding to my call (August 28, 1986)Praying the Rosary within a large group setting is one of the most important ways with which we can cooperate with Our Lady. In the "Forty Sixth Rose," Saint Louis De Montfort further elaborated on the importance of gathering in large numbers to recite the Rosary:
Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of it. It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken. "In union there is strength." Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls. So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God's anger, to draw down His grace and mercy upon us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his angels more forcefully? (98)
|Polish pilgrims singing and reciting the Rosary at the back part of Cross Mountain (Križevac)|
If you are in Medjugorje, on route or scheduled to go, I hope you will be encouraged to recite the Rosary within a group setting, in particular at the Evening Prayer Program. By doing so you will effectively fight the good fight against the Evil One, help Our Lady to accomplish Her plans for the world and personally benefit from it.
Kraljica Mira, moli za nas (Queen of Peace, pray for us)