A New Rosary Crusade
An Interview with Fr. Régis de Cacqueray, District Superior of France, on the Society’s Fourth Rosary Crusade
On May 16, 2011, Fr. de Cacqueray introduced the new Rosary Crusade launched before Easter by Bishop Fellay, in which all Christians are invited to participate. The goal is 12 million Rosaries.
We are here to talk about the latest Rosary Crusade, but first would you please remind us about the three previous Rosary Crusades?
Bishop Fellay began by inviting us to make the first of these crusades in 2006 toward the end of the year after the Lourdes pilgrimage. He invited all those who would like to–not only the faithful of the Society, but all Catholics were invited to participate–to say the 5-decade or even the 15-decade Rosary so as to offer a spiritual bouquet to the Blessed Virgin, to be remitted to the Pope. The purpose was to obtain a liberalization [of the restrictions on the celebration] of the Tridentine Mass. The result was the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007. Even if it only appeared as a first step, it came as a veritable response, partial but real, to the Rosary Crusade that had been undertaken. Thus it served to incite us to persevere in praying the Rosary.
Encouraged by the first Rosary Crusade and the result it had met with, Bishop Fellay called for a second crusade in 2008, this time to obtain a declaration of nullity of the sanctions imposed after the 1988 episcopal consecrations on Archbishop Lefebvre and the four bishops he consecrated. So there was another crusade, more ambitious in the number of Rosaries that were requested for the spiritual bouquet. And once again, following the Crusade, an impartial and insufficient result was obtained since the nullity of the excommunications was not recognized; but they were lifted. It is not the same thing, obviously, but it did represent a step toward rejecting the ostracism of Msgr. Lefebvre and the bishops.
Bishop Fellay then decided upon a third crusade, which took place during 2009-2010, this time for the intention that the Pope, according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Crusade had a lot of support and amply garnered the number of millions of Rosaries that had been asked for. On the other hand, the goal of this third crusade was not gained; but, I should say, that should only push us to persevere in prayer. Our Lord in the Gospel told us that sometimes one must knock several times, even till late in the day. So we must continue to ask. This is what is behind the fourth crusade.
What are the intentions of the Crusade and how does one go about participating?
Bishop Fellay explained in his Letter to Friends and Benefactors #78 that this Crusade was to begin at Easter 2011 and go till Pentecost of 2012. I think it would be best if I were to give you the exact terms he used for the intentions:
Let us ask our Heavenly Mother to intervene so that this terrible trial may be cut short, that the Modernist cape muffling the Church—at least since Vatican II—may be torn in two, and that the Authorities may perform their salvific duties for souls, that the Church may regain her spiritual splendor and beauty, that souls throughout the world may hear the Good News that converts, receive the Sacraments that save, and find the one sheepfold.
Then he summarizes, as it were, the intentions so that they are not too complicated for anyone:
We are counting on your generosity to collect once more a bouquet of at least twelve million rosaries for the intention that the Church may be delivered from the evils that oppress her or threaten her in the near future, that Russia may be consecrated and that the Triumph of the Immaculata may come soon.
So, briefly, the three intentions are 1) the deliverance of the Church from the evils oppressing or threatening her, 2) the consecration of Russia, and 3) the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In the Crusade, is there a specific prayer for the success of the doctrinal discussions with Rome?
No, that is not directly requested, even though when we speak of a resolution of the crisis in the Church that necessarily refers to the question of the doctrinal discussions since it is true that what was hoped for in the doctrinal talks is after all the return of Rome to the Tradition of the Church. Thus, indirectly it is included, though not explicitly.
All Catholics who love the Blessed Virgin and want to pray to her are invited to participate. It is not limited to the faithful who frequent the chapels of the SSPX. To pray to the Blessed Virgin is a good thing, and it is gladdening to have a great many do so.
To participate, then, the SSPX faithful should send the number of rosaries they’ve recited for the given period to their priories so that they can be tallied by the priors. This can also be done on La Porte Latine Web site–count is being kept there.
Those who do not usually go to Society chapels or who never go, can get a chart through La Porte Latine, at the end of a year at the latest since it is going to last for a year. On the chart the number of rosaries said for the period should be recorded and the result forwarded either to a priory or to La Porte Latine.
The persons who are going to recite their rosary during the coming year for the intentions expressed by Bishop Fellay fulfill the conditions. There are no others. They can count those chaplets in the spiritual bouquet, which at the end of the year will be given to the Pope. The Pope will be informed of the number of Rosaries that were offered for these intentions, and the Pope may or may not acknowledge receipt. In any case, there is one person who will certainly acknowledge receipt: the Blessed Virgin.
Would you tell us something about the Rosary itself?
The Rosary is first of all a prayer that was substantially given by the Blessed Virgin herself to St. Dominic at the beginning of the 13th century. St. Dominic had been combatting the heresy of the Albigensians, which had spread throughout the south of France, without much success. So he implored heaven and received from the Blessed Virgin this prayer, which became very popular.
The Rosary has been called the Psalter of the Poor, as it is primarily composed of 150 Hail Marys, which correspond to the 150 Psalms of David. It is easier to say than the psalms; obviously, the psalms require more reflection to grasp all the nuances that are expressed therein, whereas the Rosary involves the recitation of the same prayer, the Hail Mary. This is not to say a merely external, mechanical repetition of the prayer. It really involves the adherence of one’s whole soul to the knowledge and love of the mysteries of Jesus Christ which are successively contemplated in 15 scenes during the Rosary.
The Rosary is broken into 15 mysteries, like a fresco of the entire life of Our Lord from the Annunciation, the first mystery, to the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in heaven, the 15th mystery. For every decade, an Our Father, ten Hail Marys and one Glory be to the Father are recited. During the recitation of a decade, the faithful meditate on the scene; for example, they contemplate the first Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation, and also ask for the fruit of the mystery, that is, a virtue particularly associated with the mystery to be contemplated. Telling one’s beads is not at all the mere mechanical, external repetition of an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and so on. Like every prayer, it is a prayer that is firstly interior, during which the soul truly seeks to be absorbed in the contemplation of the mystery and thereby to grow in the knowledge and love of our Lord.
Great promises have been made by the Blessed Virgin to those who say the Rosary, in particular, to a Dominican named Alain de la Roche. Our Lady promised great blessings for the recitation of the rosary; to pray the rosary daily is a sign of predestination. Those who find the 15-decade rosary a bit too long can at least recite five decades every day.
Great victories have also been gained by the Church thanks to the Rosary. The famous victory of Lepanto over the Turks comes to mind. St. Pius V had urged the whole of Christendom to kneel down and pray the Rosary, and the naval victory was won against great odds. It can indeed be said that it was thanks to the prayers of Christendom.
So if there was Lepanto in 1571, we can hope for good things in our time by faithfully praying the Rosary.