Through the years the Convocation has grown and the Pilgrimage has become a highlight of the weekend. At the Pilgrimage we travel to area shrines, stopping along the way to say each Mystery of the Rosary.
In 1571 three Catholic powers on the continent of - Genoa, Spain and the Papal States - formed an alliance called the Holy League, to defend their Christian civilization against a Turkish invasion. Its fleets sailed to confront the Turks near the west coast of Greece on October 7th. Pope Pius V was moved to institute the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary as October 7th when he was informed that all but 13 of the nearly 300 Turkish ships had been captured or sunk. The Pope had previously asked the people to pray the Rosary on that day and since the victory was obtained it was credited to the Rosary and the Feast Day was made October 7th in honor of the defeat. Nevertheless, people died.
There is a story, a fable, that is told about a celebration in Heaven. The angels and saints are dancing and celebrating the exodus at which the Israelites leave Egypt and enter into their wilderness wanderings. Having suffered greatly at the hands of Egyptians, Moses leads them out of bondage and they are freed at the crossing through the Red Sea. Moses held out his staff, and the Red Sea was separated into two halves by God. The Israelites walked on dry ground and crossed the sea. Behind them came the Egyptian army. Moses moved his staff, and the sea returned to the normal flow. With that drowned the whole entire Egyptian army.
As the Angels celebrated this victory, they noticed that God was not there celebrating with them. "Where is He?", the Angel Gabriel inquired. They began to look around and soon Gabriel finds God sitting quietly in an out of the way corner, weeping. "Why do you weep? We have victory. The Israelites have been freed." says Gabriel to God. Not looking up, tears flowing, God replies "Today, many of my children were drowned."
For years we have felt uncomfortable about the reason for the date of the Feast of the Rosary. The Rosary is a holy and special devotion that is praying the LIFE of Christ. It is about life and we felt awkward celebrating its Feast Day on a day in which people were killed - whether it was a necessary war or not, defense of an invasion or not, regardless - people were killed.
"If you want to understand the Rosary, its praying the Life of Jesus. If you want to understand Mary its saying YES to that Life. Hence, the Rosary is praying the Life of Jesus in union with Mary who said YES to that Life." - Seraphim OJN (If you've spent any time at the skete or been around Seraphim at all, you've heard him say this often).
Mary is the Messenger of Peace, Jesus the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6; John 14:27; 16:33; James 1:2; Phil. 4:6-7) and therefore we want the celebration of the Rosary to be about Life and the "yes" to that life and not in celebration of a time when there was war or victory of war.
Once moving to St. Simeon Skete, where the Rosary is the current or flow of our day, it was natural for us to move the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to the Second Sunday of May.
May is the traditional month of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the second Sunday is appropriately, Mother's Day.
We understand the importance of the victory of the battle against the Turks in 1571, and we are not saying that moving the Feast of the Rosary is the best thing to do for everyone. It does, however, best work for us at St. Simeon Skete and that is why we made the change.
The 17th Annual NHA Rosary Convocation begins at St. Simeon Skete on Thursday May 9th, with arrival, orientation and lectures at 1:30 and ends on Sunday May 12th following Mass at the Chapel and a Community Meal at Anna House.
The Pilgrimage to area Shrines: (St. Augustine, Leopold, IN, St. Joseph's Shrine, Our Lady of Monte Cassino and The Archabbey of St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad, IN) will be on Saturday, May 11th beginning at 9 AM. The pilgrimage will be a car caravan of pilgrims traveling to the shrines. Make sure your car is gassed up and ready for the trip upon arrival to the Skete that morning.
We have a very limited amount of rooms available at a first come, first serve basis if you are coming from out of town and would like to join us for the weekend. Several rooms have already been reserved. (I have been told that Southwest is holding some good fares to and from the Louisville Airport (SDF) right now, however, be sure to check with us on room availability before booking a flight - unless you wish to stay at a nearby hotel.) For information and to check availability please email me through the contact page of our website:
The schedule for those accommodating at Anna House is as follows. (Local Residents you are invited to please join us where and when you can).
Thursday May 9th (Ascension Day)
Arrival, orientation, lecture (1:30 pm)
Friday May 10th (in addition to the regular Vigils, Mass & Prayer Offices of the Skete)
- 10 AM Lecture - Joyful Mysteries
- 11:40 AM Stations of the Cross
- 12:30 Lunch
- 1:30 PM Luminous Mysteries
- 3:00 PM Stations of the Cross
- Lecture: Sorrowful Mysteries
- 4:00 PM Lecture - Glorious Mysteries
- 5:00 PM Vespers & Chaplet
- 6:30 PM Supper
- 7:30 PM Compline
Saturday, May 11th
- 9AM: Pilgrimage begins with prayer
- Picnic Lunch at Monte Cassino Shrine
- Return to Skete for Mass
- The Mass follows the Pilgrimage (Lk. 24:30-31) the Emmaus Road ... traveled all day with Him and then we find Him in the "breaking of the bread".
Sunday, May 12th
- 11 AM: The Feast of the Holy Rosary Mass
- Following Mass: Community Potluck Meal at Anna House
We realize that many will have plans for Mother's Day, however, you are invited to bring your Mother and celebrate her as we celebrate the Mother of our Lord in one joyous day of fellowship.