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What to Do in Our Spiritual Crisis
By Breanne Reilly (Aug 12, 2015)
Hundreds of thousands of the faithful are pledging to pray the Rosary for 54 straight days as a message of hope amidst a national spiritual crisis.
Marians and Marian Helpers will be among them.
The 2015 National 54 Day Rosary Novena begins Aug. 15, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and runs through Oct. 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Wisconsin-based Rosary Evangelization Apostolate is sponsoring the event. Founded in 2003 by directors Dick and Terry Boldin, the Apostolate was originally formed in response to Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary) issued on Oct. 16, 2002.
Dick said the Apostolate organized the first National 54 Day Novena in August 2014 as a response to the spiritual crisis in the nation and its culture. More than 90 dioceses participated nationally. This year, the focus is on "Family and Marriage," with primary intentions for peace, human life, and religious freedom.
"Throughout history, people have turned to the Rosary during turbulent times," said Dick, a member of the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee. "A decade ago, we could see that there were things that we needed to pray for that have now escalated. Currently, there is an attack on the sanctity of human life, religious freedom and the family, which is the fundamental building block of society."
Dick said that he's been a Catholic for all of his 72 years and he's always had a special place in his heart for the Rosary. He said this year's novena is especially important because the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy begins on Dec. 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
"Early on, the Blessed Mother grabbed my heart and told me to pray and share the Rosary," he said. "We need it now as a prayer of mercy and to connect us to Jesus through Mary."
With the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Most Rev. Archbishop Jerome Listecki's blessing, the novena has been entrusted to Our Lady of the Rosary. Participants will spend 27 days in petition from Aug. 15 through Sept. 10 followed by 27 days in thanksgiving from Sept. 11 through Oct. 7.
"We encounter Christ through the Rosary and Mary," Dick said. "So we are asking the faithful across America to turn to Our Lady to intercede in a powerful yet motherly manner."
Dick said that there is hope during the spiritual crisis because of Jesus Christ's dying for sins, Resurrection and victory over death 2,000 ago.
"Mary needs us to bring into our time of 2015 the victory of Jesus on the Cross," he said.
Dick said that after last year's novena, people approached him and said they had never prayed the Rosary before then, and they would continue to pray it throughout the year.
"This is one of the greatest fruits of the novena, people discovering the power of the Rosary," he said.
For more information, please visit the Rosary Evangelization Apostolate's website, rosaryea.org.