Gretchen R. Crowe
Our Sunday Visitor
May 2, 2017 // Perspective

‘Why the Rosary, Why Now?’

Gretchen R. Crowe
Our Sunday Visitor

Book review —

Catholics love their rosaries. We buy them at shrines, give them as gifts, even occasionally hang them from our rearview mirrors. But how often do we reach for them in prayer? Not nearly as often as we should, I’d wager.

Nearly 100 years ago, Our Lady, in her appearances to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal, over the span of six months, implored them in some form or other: “Pray the rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world, and the end of the war.” This wasn’t an abstract suggestion by Our Lady, but a clear directive.

A century later, this request is not only just as relevant as it was in 1917, but just as urgent. While World War I was raging then, today we find ourselves, as Pope Francis has said, in a “piecemeal” third World War. We need the rosary now more than ever.

A century after appearing to three shepherd children in Portugal, Mary’s request that we pray the Rosary daily is just as urgent now as it was then.

I was very privileged over the last year to be able to work on a book that makes that case decisively. Some of the words are mine, but mostly the case is made by individuals who were much smarter and much holier.

The book, “Why the Rosary, Why Now?” (OSV, $14.95), is divided up into eight parts — eight reasons, really, why the rosary is critical to our lives and our world today. These are: to break through the noise; for a deeper devotion to the church; to strengthen families; for an increase in Christian discipleship; for peace in the world; as a weapon against evil; to combat secularism; and to become saints. Each of the chapters includes an excerpt from a notable Church figure, including Cardinal Albino Luciani (Pope John Paul I); Venerable Fulton J. Sheen; Father Patrick Peyton, the rosary priest; St. John Paul II; Father Hubert F. Schiffer, SJ; Venerable Pope Pius XII; Pope Leo XIII; and many more. It’s my privilege to be able to introduce you to a writing of each of those individuals, and through them to make the case of why we need the rosary now more than ever.

Of course the only way that the rosary can do all of the above is by connecting us, through Mary, more intimately with her beloved son, Jesus. As the late Cardinal Francis E. George, archbishop of Chicago from 1997 until his retirement in 2014, said at the conclusion of the Year of the rosary in 2003: the rosary “brings us to the heart of the Gospel.”

This is so true, and just another reason why we need the rosary — right now. For more information, visit and search for “rosary.”

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