October is traditionally known in the Catholic Church as being dedicated to the Holy Rosary. But have you ever wondered how this tradition came about? What led the Church to associate this specific month with the devotional prayer to Mary?
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary
The key feast day that started it all is on October 7th – the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This feast celebrates the victory of the Holy League fleet over the Ottoman Empire navy at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. This decisive victory was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title Our Lady of the Rosary, after Pope Pius V led the people to pray the rosary for success.
Dedication by Pope Leo XIII
In the following centuries, the devotion to the Rosary continued to grow. In 1883, Pope Leo XIII officially dedicated the entire month of October to the Rosary devotion through his encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio. He did this to encourage the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary throughout the month.
October is a Liturgical Fit
October was chosen as it falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, when no other major feasts are celebrated. This made it an ideal spot to highlight the Rosary devotion. The focus on Mary during October helps prepare for upcoming Marian feast days in December – the Immaculate Conception on the 8th and Our Lady of Guadalupe on the 12th.
Pray the Rosary online with these Rosary videos: