The Church chooses the month of October each year to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. So many apparitions have been recorded as taking place in October, including the last apparition at Fatima. But the reason for the Church’s celebration is because of the intercession our Lady for a great victory in battle that took place on the first Sunday of October in 1571. Muslim Turks had conquered the Middle East, and slaughtered millions of people, forcing all the survivors to convert to Islam. They then moved across the Mediterranean Sea, taking the crucial islands of Crete and Cyprus and from these islands, set their radar to the Christian kingdoms of the central Mediterranean, threatening Sicily, Venice, and Rome.
Pope Pius V called on all the Christian princes of Europe to rally in prayer to defeat the Islamic threat. In addition, he called on Rosary confraternities in Rome and all over Europe to plan and execute special processions and public recitation of the Rosary, asking for the intercession of our Blessed Mother. In the famous Battle of Lepanto, the Christian fleet was outnumbered and it appeared that they would have no hope of winning the battle. But they went forward in courage and on the first Sunday of October 1571, the Christian fleet met the invading Muslims off the coast of Greece in the Gulf of Lepanto.
Christians all over Europe were praying the Rosary for Our Lady’s intercession and protection, as the Turks surrounded the Christian ships.
Miraculously, the European fleet broke through, and all of the Turks were driven to shore or drowned. Europe had been saved! Pope Pius established an annual commemoration to honor Our Lady of Victory, and his successor, Pope Gregory XIII, decreed that the first Sunday in October would be the Feast of the Holy Rosary.
The Church celebrates October as the month of the Rosary to extend its thanksgiving to Our Lady for victory in the Battle of Lepanto. It is also important to highlight that when Our Lady appeared in Fatima Portugal, one hundred years ago in May 1917, she identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary. Let us draw our inspiration from the Blessed Mother to say ‘yes’ each day to praying the rosary and spreading the joy and Good News of Jesus to a world so much in need of it.