From Bishop David

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the 7th October, and this month is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Rosary. Many of us will pray this blessed prayer every day, with an opportunity to reflect upon the mysteries of salvation in the life of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. On the 31st October, the Walsingham Shrine team have organised a Rosary Whirlwind around the British Isles, similar to the one organised during the national lockdown. Our Diocese will be one of those praying the Rosary in the first hour between 9 – 10 am.

My own relationship with the Rosary began when I joined my home parish Junior Praesidium of the Legion of Mary. Over my teenage years, membership of this apostolic organisation framed my growing sense of mission and my priestly vocation. And now, first thing in the morning around 5.00pm, the day begins with the Rosary. It is still very comforting to feel the beads between my fingers and to offer each decade for those I have promised to pray for. This is also an opportunity to beg from our heavenly Mother, her intercession for the graces needed for the day ahead.

Please join me in praying the Rosary for deliverance from the virus pandemic and for the graces we need as a Diocese and in our parish communities.

Most people go to Leicester Square to see a film. But a few years ago I visited a delightful church tucked away in the corner of the Square, Notre Dame de France. It is well worth visiting, and in particular, the enchanting murals by Jean Cocteau. There is also a tapestry by Dom Robert, a Benedictine monk of the En Calcat Abbey. This depicts Paradise on Earth, with a reference to the Creation and to Wisdom. Our Lady is shown as the new Eve. The inscription on the tapestry is taken from Proverbs 8.30, ‘I was beside him, like a master craftsman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always’. In this tapestry, the verb rejoice has been changed to ludens, which means ‘play’, ‘playing before him always’. Characteristically, in images of the virgo ludens, Mary has the child Jesus on her lap, smiling and playing with him. But this is a different image, Mary at play in the new Garden of Eden or Paradise.

We rightly worry about so many things in these days. But I think we should also allow Our Blessed Lady to lead us into one of the important fruits of Wisdom, ludens or holy play. Prayer should not always be filled with heavy concerns – sometimes we just need to come before the Lord as little children, confident and full of trust, allowing the grace of the Holy Rosary to lead us into a place of joyful rest.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

Bishop David