A complete chaotic situation on a Bandra street on a sweltering May evening. Non-law abiding class of drivers, the major culprits being the bikers, abuse a No-Entry street, as they jackrabbit their way through the maze of traffic. As a pedestrian, you seem like the one hopscotching in a minefield. And through the sound of revving cars and angry-wasp buzz of rickshaws you can hear the mixed-voice refrain of Holy Mary, Mother of God, Ave Ave Ave Maria, sounding distant and melodious, but reverent.

No way can you see them easily; they group precariously at several places. Mainly, the recesses of the roads, which is the only available spaces. Rosary in one hand and an eye on the cross or the statue of Our Lady on the opposite side of the narrow street, separated by the madding traffic.

Literally, they believe in the protection from Hell as one of the 15 Promises of praying the Rosary. From the oldest patriarch to the tiniest tot, they know they have to be on the spot as soon as they hear the Angelus bell ring from the St. Andrew steeple. If you can’t guess, it is the friendly Chimbai Road with its huge Catholic contribution to the parish of St. Andrew.

St. Andrew parish has 17 Small Christian Communities, living their mission statement of Being a Vibrant Community. Every evening in May and October, the families in their respective areas meet to pray the Rosary. You will see one group of parishioners every evening at 7:00 pm praying the rosary at the grotto in the St. Andrew Church compound. Their leader is Dr. Marie Pereira who with her inspiring meditations on each mystery of the Rosary leads them in the Marian devotion.

Story Of The Rosary

According to reliable sources, this devotion to Our lady received the official sanction of Pope Pius V in 1569 and has since become a fervent devotion.  St. Peter Canisius, a doctor of the church, credited with adding the ‘Holy Mary Mother of God…to the Hail Mary’. From the 16th-20th centuries, the structure of the Rosary remained the same. 15 mysteries, 5 each under the titles of Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.

The decade prayer for the rosary or Fatima Prayer ( O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy) was revealed on July 13, 1917. Our Lady of Fatima taught it to the three shepherd children—Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, and it has become (though optional) a part of the rosary. In 2002, Pope John Paul II instituted the 5 new Luminous mysteries.

Why Is The Rosary A Popular & Powerful Prayer In Our Parish?

We pray the rosary in May at different venues in our parish. On May 22, the venue for the rosary was Cozy Dell. The society that was in gloom for the previous 36 hours, as Lincoln Coelho was missing. Half an hour before the start of the rosary, in walked Lincoln Coelho on his own. “It was nothing short of a miracle,” reported Judith Dabreo of Community M. She attributes his safe return to the community’s fervent recitation of the rosary.

Monica Fernandes of Community J believes, “All the year round, we live isolated lives, struggling to survive and make sense of an increasingly selfish and violent world. May brings a welcome change, binding us for a short while, despite our diverse lives. We are united to pray for the needs of the community, protection from Terrorism and peace in the world.”

Yes, “The family that prays together stays together,” says Eliza D’Cruz of Community C.

“The ambience chosen by Community X for the Rosary was a perfect setting for the Centennial Celebration of the Fatima apparition. The heritage, Fatima Oratory attracted people of all faiths to stand and watch the praying of the Rosary by a Community of about 40 people. Then join in the traditional, boiled-gram munch”, remarked Anita Bhoi, a non- Christian.

Controversy Of The Rosary

The rosary has a fair share of criticisms from those who believe it is ‘a ritual, a mere repetition of words, sometimes muttered incoherently’, without a sense of the richness of the prayer. Monica Furtado brushes it aside, she says, “We do not ‘say’ or ‘recite’ the rosary, but we pray the rosary. Hence, we must say it slowly to understand its profound meaning.”

Someone who converted recently to Christianity says that while saying the rosary, she often drifts into a contemplative state. She feels transported to the foot of the cross, standing beside Mary, witnessing her saviour bearing the weight of sin.

Joyce Noronha participates in the rosary every evening in the church compound says, “The rosary gives me total protection from sin.” Padre Pio called the rosary beads a weapon of extraordinary power against Satan.

It has been 100 years since Our Lady appeared to the three shepherd children. On May 13, 2017, Francisco and Jacinta became the youngest non-martyred saints. Their humble lives and devotion to the rosary are testaments to the most powerful way to gain peace in our lives and in the world. No wonder more people are turning to this simple prayer.

At St. Andrew, a church full of Marian devotees, celebrated this event with Mass, followed with the Rosary and fellowship. In his introduction, Fr. Caesar said, “The appearance took place in 1917, a time when the First World War was being fought. It was also the beginning of the Russian Revolution.  The Rosary by its repetitious nature invites us to contemplate on the 15 mysteries. So “meditating on these mysteries, we imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.”  Our Lady of Fatima urged the world to pray and do penance.”

Suzie Mascarenhas wrote a meaningful role-play. Chelsy Vaz, Danielle Pereira, Kyron Kadam, and Louella Vaz performed it. They brought out the essence of the apparition. Dr. Marie Pereira conducted the rosary. The fellowship that followed was courtesy: the Parish.

By Maria Dsouza