On Oct. 7, each bishop of Wisconsin will entrust his diocese to the Mother of Mercy as a way of increasing awareness of the significant role of the Mother of Jesus as instrumental in his unique role of extending mercy so abundantly to anyone who will receive it.
Each diocese will read a public prayer of entrustment, which is a way of placing each of our dioceses and everyone within them under the special care and protection of the Blessed Mother. I will be celebrating Mass on Oct. 7 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion. During the Mass, I will be leading the congregation gathered, spiritually representing all people within the diocese, in the prayer of entrustment published in The Compass. I invite each and every one of you to pray the prayer at home or in church.
My brother bishops and I, under the leadership of Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, have chosen Oct. 7 because this is also the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast day has an incredible history. In 1571, Pope Pius V called on everyone in Europe to pray the rosary to ward off the terroristic advances of the Turkish Sultan, Selim II, who was ready to attack Venice and to conquer Rome and Vienna. Grossly outnumbered by the sultan with his fleet, the papal fleet was miraculously able to defeat the bloodthirsty aggressor and then a huge storm at sea completely annihilated the rest of the enemy fleet.
Today, we face radical, hateful terrorism once again, which is developing into a war. We also face the decline of a vibrant and faith-filled Catholic Christianity, ground into submission by the powers of secularity. We need the mercy of the Father, the Divine Mercy of the Son, Jesus, and the impetus of the Holy Spirit.
Mary, the Mother of Mercy, is the one who can protect us and defeat our enemies, especially if we turn to her with confidence. The rosary is a powerful weapon. I ask everyone in the diocese and everyone called by this action of the bishops to make this entrustment, to pray at least one rosary per day. If you are not used to praying the rosary, resources are online and many parishioners will be happy to teach you how to pray it.
Next year, Oct. 13, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s last appearance at Fatima. Let’s pray the rosary every day this year and commend ourselves, our families, our parishes, our diocese and ministries to Our Lady for new clarity and understanding, courage and perseverance, and confidence that God can defeat any and all of our enemies and help us to bring more people to the kingdom of God.