A Source of Unity

His Holiness, Pope Francis, has asked Catholics throughout the world to pray the Rosary daily throughout the month of October. This is hardly groundbreaking as October is traditionally the month of the Holy Rosary.

However, in a press release from the Vatican, issued on the feast of the Archangels, the Holy Father asked Catholics to add two additional prayers: The first, Sub Tuum Praesidium, is the oldest known prayer that we have in our Catholic tradition to the Blessed Mother. It dates back to the fourth century, coming from the Coptic tradition and was quickly adopted by the Byzantine and Roman rites. Those priests who have been trained in the seminary by the Sulpician Fathers will recognize this prayer as one that is used at the end of class. Those faithful who have been taught by the Salesians and the Marist Brothers in their schools will surely recognize this prayer as well.

It reads: We fly to thy protection, O Holy Mother of God; do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

The Holy Father is asking us as a Catholic people to pray through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Church, and the Help of Christians, for the protection of the Church and the growth in true holiness of each of her members.

Likewise, the Pope has asked us to pray the Leonine Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. No doubt many of us are very familiar with this prayer because it used to conclude every single Mass prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. In the Extraordinary Form of Mass, this prayer is still said. It is a powerful prayer and perhaps we should use it more, even in our private prayers at the conclusion of Mass on a daily basis. Many dioceses throughout the U.S. have adopted this practice in recent months.

The pope has asked all Catholics throughout October to join in communion and in penance. He stated that “the devil always seeks to separate us from God and from each other.”

Pray that the Catholic Church will always be recognized as a source of unity, truly one united in the bond of charity. Yes, we must admit that there is great sin in the world and sadly, in the members of the Church. Yes, we must admit that Satan is no doubt rejoicing in the damage done and harm inflicted on the Body of Christ. However, we must recall that the battle is already won: Satan has lost, defeated by Christ. Don’t forget to turn to St. Michael the Archangel to defend us in the daily battle both as individuals and as a church and you always fly to the protection of our Mother, Mary.

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