This October, a 31-day Rosary challenge for all of us

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about — and praying — the Rosary in the past 12 months. I suppose writing a book on that topic will do that.

For months, my head was consumed with rich texts by saintly men and women writing about the numerous benefits that come from regularly picking up one’s rosary beads. Since the book’s release in May, I have been privileged to go out and make the case to the world about why it matters, and I’ve answered dozens of questions posed by individuals from news outlets and bloggers (during which I discovered that I much prefer to be on the question-asking side).

This has been a great blessing, because there is no better time to focus on the Rosary than right now, as the Church is wrapping up the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Mary at Fatima this October. Oct. 13 marks the final apparition date — known as “the day the sun danced” — as this week’s Faith story outlines (Pages 10-11).

In addition, October in the Church is the month of the Most Holy Rosary, and Oct. 7 is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. All of this adds up to one inevitable conclusion: the creation of a 31-day Rosary challenge for this month.

Here are five steps to get started:

1) Select a favorite rosary to use while you pray. Preferably, it should be a rosary with meaning. For example, mine will be the beautiful red rosary gifted to me by my husband, and which I carried on our wedding day. What’s your favorite?

2) Identify a time and a place that you will pray. It could be during your commute on the way to or from work, while jogging on the treadmill, in the living room after dinner, right before bed — it doesn’t matter as long as it’s consistent.

3) Choose an intention to focus on during your prayer. It can be the same every day or can change each week — whatever works with your particular situation.

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4) Identify one person to join you. This person can be a friend, family member, co-worker or acquaintance from Church. You don’t have to pray together in person, but rather be accountability partners for one another: “Have you prayed your Rosary yet today?” Pick wisely, and choose someone who will challenge you and who will be comfortable being challenged.

5) Pray, pray, pray the Rosary. Every day. For 31 days.

If you’re interested in additional resources to help enhance your prayer, look at “Why the Rosary, Why Now?” at osvcatholicbookstore.com. Also available is an eight-part study guide for individual or group use that may help focus your prayer.

Finally, if you’d like, please let me know how your challenge went. I’d love to hear about it on my Facebook page: “Why the Rosary, Why Now?” I’ll be writing about how my own challenge is going in that space, as well.

Good luck! Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!