|Our Lady of Victory statue|
from the Holy Cross Calvary
Monastery in Ahrweiler, Germany
Photo by G. Freihalter
Originally called “Our Lady of Victory,” today's feast celebrates a 16th century naval victory that protected all of Europe against an Ottoman invasion. The Ottomans had overtaken the Byzantine empire almost two centuries earlier, destroy Christian churches and preventing Christian people from practicing their faith. Little by little, they came closer to Europe. In 1571, several European countries got together to form the Holy League, building up a navy of 200 ships ready to fight the Ottomans before they could sail across the Mediterranean. On October 7, Pope St. Pius V urged every Christian in Europe to pray the Rosary as the Holy League fleet confronted about 300 Ottoman ships. Miraculously, all but 13 of the Ottoman ships were captured or sunk. That's why Pope St. Pius V started this feast.
It's always appropriate to have a special dinner or dessert on a feast day. And today is a great day to pray the Rosary. Make your intention the protection of other Christians who also face invasions in their hometowns by militants who who want to destroy Christianity.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners!
More reading for parents:American Catholic
Catholic News Agency
How to Pray the Rosary as a Family (Catholic Culture)
Rosary Walk (or Hopscotch) Idea (for families with active kids - you could do this with chalk outside if it's a nice day)