Marian devotion leads to new evangelization, priest says

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MANILA, June 26, 2013—The Church’s call for new evangelization must be met by a deep spiritual renewal and reawakening of faith, a Catholic priest said on Saturday as he urged lay leaders to keep themselves true to their mission of bringing families closer to Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Family Rosary International Director Fr. James Phalan reminded members of the Catholic movement Family Rosary Crusade (FRC) of their mission to encourage families and individuals to pray the holy rosary as a means to personally know Christ.

“Our ministry of the rosary and family prayer in a home is more important now than ever. The year of faith calls us to a deeper life in Christ with Mary through prayer, calling us to become more fervent missionaries,” Phalan said.

He stressed the important role played by Mary and the holy rosary in the mission of new evangelization, as well as their timeliness with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s declaration of the Year of Faith.

“I would like to propose that everyone will make a special effort to pray the rosary during the Year of Faith. I invite you to pray the rosary personally, in the family, and in the community to brace ourselves in the school of Mary who leads us to Christ as the living center of our faith,” Phalan said, quoting the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Phalan also noted that for evangelization efforts to be effective, they must always start with the self.

“New evangelization starts with us and our own Christian communities. It is the time of reawakening the faith in our own heart and lives,” he added. “We should realize that the year of faith is about spiritual renewal, a time of personal encounter with Christ and living them deeper.”

Star of new evangelization 

Calling Mary as the “star of the new evangelization,” he urged the faithful to imitate the works and deeds of the Holy Mother in keeping families together and closer to Christ through praying the rosary.

“By highlighting and promoting Marian devotion, we come to highlight what the FRC knows to be so relevant— family rosary is important for Mary in leading her children through Christ,” he said.

“The FRC is given with marching orders. We have been called to go and promote the praying of the rosary with renewed fervor and vision for the people of today, reaching out to their hands and hearts to be children of Christ,” he added.

Phalan said that an effective tool to fulfill the mission of new evangelization, which is to bring souls back to Christ, is through praying the rosary well and with ever renewed enthusiasm.

However, he noted that when praying the rosary, people must not only be focused on asking the Blessed Mother for intercession. Rather, it must also be a means to know Christ personally.

“By praying the rosary, our faith can become vital. By meditating the mysteries of the rosary, we come to know Christ personally,” he said.

‘Pueblo Amante de Maria’ 

The priest also lauded the strengthening devotion of the Filipino people to the Madonna, noting that it is the kind of faith that the world must adapt to successfully battle influences of secularism and relativism in the modern times.

“As a foreigner who sees the church in many places, influences of secularism and materialism are banging hard on the door. Communities must be prepared. The universal church needs the church in the Philippines to stay strong. We need Christian families in the Philippines to remain strong,” he said.

With the Filipino people’s devotion and love for Mary being strong and beautiful, Phalan urged Filipino lay leaders to help the faithful know the Blessed Mother deeper so they may share in her mission of bringing more people closer to her Son.

“Like the Pueblo Amante de Maria, the church in the world truly needs the faith of the Filipino people to remain strong,” he said.

“If we can tell people to know Mary better, we will love her even more and we will be able to help her in leading her children to the Divine Son,” Phalan added.  (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

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