Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Oggi festa!

Today is the patronal feast of my parish of Our Lady of the Rosary. I feel that we are especially blessed since we can also celebrate the feast on Rosary Sunday. Today, we had an English Mass in the morning, with some of our favourite Marian hymns. This afternoon, I will celebrate Mass in Our Lady of the Rosary Primary school, and this evening we will have a Missa Cantata (EF) in the Church.

The feast day was instituted to celebrate the victory of the european Holy League at the battle of Lepanto. Here is a rather "blood and thunder" account of the battle

I found it rather curious that the film ends by describing the battle as a victory for "humanism". Pope St Pius V instituted a rosary campaign to pray for victory in the battle, in which the Christian forces were outnumbered. The original title of the Feast was "Our Lady of Victory" but it was shortly after changed to Our Lady of the Rosary.

It is possible that the dedication of my own Church was made because of increasing devotion in the 1930s to the appearances of Our Lady at Fatima when she said "I am Our Lady of the Rosary."

The title of this post will be familiar to Old Romans - there was a saying that the Elizabettine sisters used in jest when we helped in the kitchen at the Venerable English College: "Oggi festa, domani sciopero". Today is a feast day (i.e. a day when no work is done and everything is closed.) Tomorrow is a strike (i.e. a day when no work is done and everything is closed.) In the Italy of recent years, much has changed but the Italians share with many others an ability to laugh at themselves.
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