ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI
FOR PEACE DURING OCTOBER
The Church being accustomed to turning to her Mother Mary, an efficient intercessor, towards her we rightly direct our mind and yours, venerable brothers, and that of all the faithful; for she, as Saint Irenaeus says, “has been constituted as a cause of salvation for the whole human race” (Adv. Haer. 3, 22; PG 7, 959).
Nothing seems more appropriate and valuable to us than to have the prayers of the whole Christian family rise to the Mother of God, who is invoked as the Queen of Peace, begging her to pour forth abundant gifts of her maternal goodness in the midst of so many great trials and hardships. We want constant and devout prayers to be offered to her whom we declared Mother of the Church, its spiritual parent, during the celebration of the Second Vatican Council, thereby winning the applause of the Fathers and of the Catholic world and confirming a point of traditional doctrine. For the Mother of the Savior is, as St. Augustine teaches, “surely the mother of His members,” (7) and St. Anselm, to mention only one other, agrees with him in these words: “What could ever be deemed more suitable than for you to be the mother of those whose father and brother Christ deigned to become?” (8) She was called “most truly the mother of the Church” by Our predecessor Leo XIII. (9) Hence, we have good reason to place our trust in her in the midst of this terrible disorder.
6. If evils increase, the devotion of the people of God should also increase. And so, venerable brothers, we want you to take the lead in urging and encouraging people to pray ardently to our most merciful Mother Mary by saying the Rosary during the month of October, as we have already indicated. This prayer is well-suited to the devotion of the people of God, most pleasing to the Mother of God and most effective in gaining heaven’s blessings. The Second Vatican Council recommended use of the Rosary to all the sons of the Church, not in express words, but in unmistakable fashion in this phrase: “Let them value highly the pious practices and exercises directed to the Blessed Virgin and approved over the centuries by the magisterium.” (9)
7. As the history of the Church makes clear, this very fruitful way of praying is not only efficacious in warding off evils and preventing calamities but is also of great help in fostering Christian life. “It nourishes the Catholic faith which readily takes on new life from a timely commentary on the sacred mysteries, and it turns minds toward the truths that have been taught us by God.” (11)
8. And so during the month of October, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, prayers and petitions should be increased, so that through her intercession the dawn of true peace may shine forth to men. This means true religious peace, too, for unfortunately, not everyone is allowed to profess his religion freely in this age. In particular, we want October 4th—the day on which, as we mentioned earlier, we went last year to the United Nations for the sake of peace—to be celebrated throughout the whole Catholic world this year as a Day of Prayer for Peace.
It will be up to you, venerable brethren, in the light of your own commendable devotion and on the basis of the obvious importance of this matter, to prescribe sacred ceremonies in which priests, religious and the faithful—especially boys and girls in the flower of their innocence, and the sick and others who are suffering—can all ask the help of the Mother of God and of the Church.
On that day, we ourselves will go to St. Peter’s Basilica, to the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles, to offer special prayers to the Virgin Mother of God, protector of Christians and mediator for peace. In this way heaven will be moved, in a sense, by the one voice of the Church resounding from all the continents on the earth. For as St. Augustine says, “Amid the various languages of men, the faith of the heart speaks one tongue.” (12)
9. Look down with maternal clemency, Most Blessed Virgin, upon all your children. Consider the anxiety of bishops who fear that their flocks will be tormented by a terrible storm of evils. Heed the anguish of so many people, fathers and mothers of families who are uncertain about their future and beset by hardships and cares. Soothe the minds of those at war and inspire them with “thoughts of peace.” Through your intercession, may God, the avenger of injuries, turn to mercy. May He give back to nations the tranquility they seek and bring them to a lasting age of genuine prosperity.
10. With confidence that the exalted Mother of God will graciously hear our humble prayer, we lovingly impart the apostolic blessing to you, venerable brethren, and to the clergy and people committed to your care.
Given at St. Peter’s, Rome, on the 15th day of September, in the year 1966, the fourth of Our pontificate.
History of Our Lady
of the Rosary in Guatemala
By Bishop Elías Samuel Bolaños, SDB
The Rosary in the country of Guatemala, which was declared Patroness of the country, was disseminated with the presence of missionaries and evangelists, from 1525 until the declaration by the President of the Republic, Rafael Carrera.
In the city of Antigua Guatemala, cradle and center of dissemination of the Gospel and of the Christian life, the great buildings of the Franciscan fathers, Dominican fathers, Mercedarian fathers, etc. are still preserved. Visiting the convent of the Dominican Fathers at the entrance of the Old City, you can see the structure that received and formed the missionary hosts of the Dominican fathers, who then went to the different towns and villages to evangelize. Santo Domingo de Guzmán, to whom the Christian practice of the prayer of the Holy Rosary was revealed, and the Dominican fathers spread throughout the world and also in the General Captaincy of Guatemala, center and political and religious focus for all of Central America, the Christian life .
As the prayer of the Holy Rosary is so suitable for the simple people, those who have become Christians in these lands soon embraced this practice of the Holy Rosary prayer. Its diffusion practically reached all the homes, because during the Colony, practically for three centuries 1525-1821: the missionary work of these orders, implanted the baptism in all the natives. So, at the time of Independence, Catholicism was widespread.
The event of Independence and the subsequent period: 1825-1900 A.D. we will have a change of course, especially with the liberal governments, period in which at times the Catholic Church was persecuted, the property was taken away from the church, the introduction of Protestant or evangelical Christian churches was favored, it is the period in which some bishops were expelled, the clergy were decimated, religious congregations were expelled.
God’s people were without shepherds. It was the devotion of the Rosary, the existence of the Brotherhoods, the celebration of the saints and the Virgin, as an expression of popular religiosity that kept the community of Christians alive. But above all the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
Several of the residential Bishop of the Diocese of Guatemala were from the Order of Santo Domingo, and thus favored the knowledge and practice of the prayer of the Holy Rosary. So, when the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala was moved, back in 1776, the image and devotion prevailing was that of the Holy Rosary, which is enthroned in the new cathedral of Guatemala. In addition, the Parish of the Rosary is built, run by the Dominican fathers.
Guatemala has maintained, maintains, and will maintain faith in Christ, with the help of the Virgin and the simple and popular prayer of the Holy Rosary.