Mandalay ( Fides News Agency) - In churches in Mandalay, a city in north-central Myanmar, the Catholic faithful gather daily for the recitation of the Rosary prayer, thus celebrating the month of October, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, to whom they present special intentions for peace. October is commonly called the "Month of the Rosary" because on Oct. 7 the Church celebrates the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary. As the situation in Myanmar dramatically escalates - due to the clash between the army and regular and resistance militias coagulated into the "People's Defense Forces" - in Mandalay Cathedral, lay, religious, consecrated, families, also gather to spend a full day of prayer, reflection and spiritual retreat together on every Saturday in October. "The whole month is a special time of entrusting ourselves to the Virgin Mary, that she may be close to us and protect us in this time of trial," says Sister Lilly, a Franciscan nun who participates in the initiative. "It is our responsibility to unite ourselves with God as much as possible. The prayer of the Rosary is really powerful. We plead with Mary with so much faith," adds Sister Thuzar Aung.
Fr. Gabriel Myint Aung, a priest in Mandalay, explains, "Mary, the mother of Jesus, helps us to root our faith firmly in the real world. The Magnificat prayer, which we sing every day at Vespers prayer, is a cry for the transformation of the world. Mary sings it with absolute confidence of a God in the face of such evils as poverty, thirst for power, injustice, hunger. Her song becomes our song; it is the song of every Christian who struggles for a better world and wants to build the Kingdom of God. Mary's song resonates from generation to generation, and beyond all time: 'My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit exults in God my Savior.' Mary is our hope; with her, we remember that God comes to our rescue. We gather to pray to our Mother as the Queen of Peace."
God's people in Myanmar, turn to Our Lady to plead with emotion for the gift of peace in the Marian month. Pilgrims and devotees travel-as far as conditions on the ground permit-to the shrines, churches and Marian sites found in the nation's various dioceses. Among the chosen destinations is the Marian shrine of Nyaunglebin, in the Bago region, about 150 km north of Yangon, where the baptized pray to Our Lady of Lourdes, entrusting her with the fate of the nation in the words of Psalm 122: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels."
The prayer of the Rosary echoes within the walls of the shrine with the intention of invoking deep consolation from Mary: "We ask you, O Mother, to bring comfort to those who suffer in a nation torn by conflict and division. We pray for an end to the violence and for the safety of all displaced people. We invoke your loving intercession that she may return to bring peace to Myanmar, now and forever."
There are about 750,000 Catholics in Myanmar, or about 1 percent of the Burmese population. All Burmese religious and faithful outside the country join them in praying the Rosary in solidarity with those suffering from the war, praying for their country and for peace for world, also remembering the recent conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine.
The devotion of the month of October in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary is attributed to Spanish Dominican friar Fr. Joseph Moran who, in the late 19th century , asked the Spanish bishops to institute a devotion to the Rosary in churches as a means of evangelization. The devotion spread to France and Italy, and Pope Leo XIII recommended it in 1883 to the universal Church, writing that "the entire month of October of the current year, and for the future, be consecrated and dedicated to the heavenly Virgin of the Rosary.".
(PA) (Fides News Agency 9/10/2023)