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A Faithful Apostle of the Rosary

July 29, 2008
bl_bartolo-longo.jpgIt's been announced that Pope Benedict XVI will visit the shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Pompei on October 19th.
Pompei’s Bishop Carlo Liberati said that the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at the shrine, and will entrust himself, as well as the Synod of Bishops to the Virgin Mary.
The Synod takes place at the Vatican October 5th-26th.
During his visit, the Pontiff is expected to pray for "unity in families, fidelity between spouses, courage in the education of children in the faith.”
The Holy Father will also recite a Marian prayer written Blessed Bartolo Longo.
Blessed Bartolo has a very special connection to the Rosary. This Italian holy man was actually a Satanic priest at one point in his life. Repenting of his ways, Longo became a lay Dominican and dedicated his life to Our Blessed Mother. His focus was the promotion of the great prayer of the Rosary.
Pope John Paul II even descrbied him as the "Apostole of the Rosary."
The Polish Pontiff mentions him a number of times in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (Rosary of theVirgin Mary):
As a true apostle of the Rosary, Blessed Bartolo Longo had a special charism. His path to holiness rested on an inspiration heard in the depths of his heart: “Whoever spreads the Rosary is saved!”.(13) As a result, he felt called to build a Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Pompei, against the background of the ruins of the ancient city, which scarcely heard the proclamation of Christ before being buried in 79 A.D. during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, only to emerge centuries later from its ashes as a witness to the lights and shadows of classical civilization. By his whole life's work and especially by the practice of the “Fifteen Saturdays”, Bartolo Longo promoted the Christocentric and contemplative heart of the Rosary, and received great encouragement and support from Leo XIII, the “Pope of the Rosary”. (8)
John Paull II also shared wonderful imagery from Blessed Bartolo on the beads and chain of a Rosary:
As a counting mechanism, marking the progress of the prayer, the beads evoke the unending path of contemplation and of Christian perfection. Blessed Bartolo Longo saw them also as a “chain” which links us to God. A chain, yes, but a sweet chain; for sweet indeed is the bond to God who is also our Father. A “filial” chain which puts us in tune with Mary, the “handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) and, most of all, with Christ himself, who, though he was in the form of God, made himself a “servant” out of love for us (Phil 2:7). (36)
For more information on Blessed Bartolo here's a few links to check out:
From Priest of Satan to Apostle of the Rosary by Robert Feeney
Blessed Bartolo Longo Biography
The Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Marie from Pope John Paul II, 2002

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