Bishop invites faithful to Mass, rosary Oct. 13

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This past Saturday, I returned to Wichita along with 92 others from a pilgrimage to Portugal, Spain, and France. There we visited and prayed at two of the main Marian shrines in the world, Fatima and Lourdes. It was a profound experience to offer Mass at those shrines and to join with thousands from all over the world in the nightly rosary processions.
We also visited several other places including Santiago de Compostela, Burgos, Salamanca, and Avila, where we visited and prayed at the tomb of St. Teresa of Jesus. Our 11-day pilgrimage was a time of many graces and blessings which will no doubt work within us for many years to come.
In light of this recent Marian pilgrimage, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you about the rosary, which the church offers us for our appreciation and reflection during the month of October. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is Oct. 7, and the last apparition of Mary to the Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta occurred on Oct. 13, 1917, during which Mary again asked us through the chosen visionaries to pray the rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and for peace.
1The rosary is a Christ-centered prayer, reflecting with Mary on the central events of Christ’s mission of salvation in the world. The four sets of 20 total mysteries take us from the Annunciation to the Crowning of Mary and all that took place between them as moments of joy, sorrow, light and glory, all part of God’s mysterious plan to save the world.
In the rosary, prayed with meditation and devotion, we call to mind these moments of profound grace, not as events of the past so much but as mysteries inviting us to live them in the present. How very helpful this devotion is to our overall spiritual lives, bringing the scriptures and tradition more alive in our own spiritual pilgrimage to heaven!
At various times throughout human history, many believe that Mary appeared to simple people to encourage them, to challenge them, and to invite them to renew their faith, hope, and love in Jesus, her divine Son. Her request, particularly at Fatima and Lourdes, to pray the rosary every day is an important request we must also hear from our heavenly Mother.
The rosary has within it the power to make us saints, to heal marriages and families, to reconcile sinners to Christ, to bring fervor to the tepid, to surround us in our temptations with heavenly strength, and to bring peace to the world – a peace the world cannot achieve on its own – all of this, and so much more if we use this tool of divine grace, this heavenly weapon, this instrument of the Mother of God.
On Oct. 13, 2017, exactly 100 years since Mary’s last appearance at Fatima, I invite all in our diocese to recite the rosary with greater attention and devotion. I will be offering the noon Mass on that day in our Cathedral, at which I will pray the Jubilee Prayer of Consecration for our diocese. After Mass, there will be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and opportunities throughout the afternoon for confession.
At 5 p.m. I will lead the rosary in our Cathedral, which will be offered in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, for the conversion of sinners to Christ, followed by solemn Benediction. If you can join us that day, you are most welcome. If you cannot, please consider praying the rosary at some time during that day in union with the whole diocese.
I am confident the pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes strengthened in me a greater awareness of how Mary can help me grow closer to Jesus in this life as a person, a priest, and now as a bishop. Mary can and will help you because she loves you as a Mother loves her child.
As we observe the month of October, the month dedicated to the rosary, may we rarely let a day pass without taking up our beads and devoting a few minutes of our daily schedule to meditating and praying a set of the mysteries of this powerful prayer.
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for us on our recent pilgrimage. We felt those prayers all along our journey. We hope you felt our prayers for you as we made our pilgrimage. God bless you all through the powerful intercession of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.