The bishops of the United States have received an invitation from Archbishop Jerome Listecki of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, who is the episcopal advisor of the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate, to join together in prayer for 54 days from Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, until Oct. 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary.
The invitation is very simple: to pray the rosary once a day for 54 days, in support of marriages and families. We will pray for the safe travel of the Holy Father and for all of those traveling to see and pray with the Holy Father at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September. We will also remember to pray for the successful outcome of the Synod of Bishops on Marriage and Family Life in Rome in October.
The custom with a “54-Day Rosary Novena,” is to pray 27 days of petition (asking for something) and 27 days thanking God for answering the prayer of petition. Many people who have agreed to pray this rosary novena in this way claim that very difficult situations have been cleared up and impossible requests have been answered in a very powerful way.
In the Diocese of Green Bay, we have entered upon the second year of the Disciples on the Way and we are learning to reintroduce prayer into our lives as individuals and families. The fast pace of change and the rapid influence of social media make it imperative that we keep prayer as a positive influence in our busy lives. I would ask those of you who have the habit of praying a daily rosary to begin on the 15th of August to pray the rosary for the 54 days for the intention I have mentioned above.
For those of you who pray the rosary only occasionally or not at all, this would be a good project to begin the practice of praying the rosary every day. Psychologists tell us that it takes six weeks to form a new habit in our lives. This is more than six weeks and would be very good if individuals and families were able to pray the rosary as it is a great meditation on the mysteries of Jesus’ life and mission and the role of Mary in helping her Son to accomplish his mission. Mary is still the first and the best disciple the church has ever known and she is still working from heaven to bring people close to her Son.
I will be inviting all of the faithful who will be gathering at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help for their primary feast of the year this Saturday, Aug. 15, to join in this 54-day rosary. Crowd estimates for the day are 3,000 and up.
Personally, I am looking forward to the day for many reasons but the primary one for me is that the emeritus bishop of Pueblo, Colo., Bishop Arthur Tafoya, will be joining us and delivering the homily for that day on the role of the Blessed Mother in his life and ministry.
Bishop Tafoya will also be delivering part of the homily in Spanish and we hope that our Hispanic brothers and sisters will come to enjoy the day, perhaps for the first time. Bishop Tafoya ordained me to the priesthood in La Junta, Colo., two days after he was ordained a bishop in Pueblo on Sept. 10, 1980. I worked very closely with him in the Cathedral Parish in Pueblo and later in the chancery office. He is a real gift to the church and will see the shrine for the first time on Saturday.
Peace and all things good to all of you! Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.