Letter from Father Sullivan
Letter from Father Sullivan
“Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has worked wonders; in the sight of the nations he has shown his deliverance, alleluia.” Psalm 98: 1-2
Almost forty years ago I set out with a group of other college students for a two-week backpacking adventure in the Rocky Mountains. The group was led by a former assistant pastor at my home parish, Father Jim Klima.
Our first day’s destination was Saint Louis, where we stayed with a family Father Klima had known for many years. At the end of our evening rosary with the family, the mother told how the next-door neighbors had become Catholic.
The houses of the neighborhood were solid brick structures, but built very close together, with only a narrow concrete pathway between each house. The summers in Saint Louis were particularly humid, and in the days before air conditioning each home’s windows were open, especially at night, trying to catch some of the cooler air as the sun’s rays recessed beyond the western horizon. As a result, family summer conversations, personal news and heat inspired agitations were shared with the neighbors if voices weren’t careful.
It was the practice of the family we stayed with to gather each evening to pray the rosary. Sometime after dinner, the mother and father, grandparents, and all the children—from youngest to oldest—would assemble in the living room to pray, seeking Our Blessed Lady’s intercession. Without being aware of it, that family’s prayer filled their neighbor’s house each evening with the sound of an entire family—sometimes chaotic, sometimes serene– united in loving supplication to the Mother of God.
The sound of that family’s rosary brought peace and contentment to the family next door. The Catholic family was just going about their regular pattern, observing the life of prayer and love that was second nature to them; and their neighbors noticed and wanted that for their family life, too. Without knowing it, that family at prayer was giving witness to the life that all of us as Catholics are called to—prayerful trust in God’s loving Providence that pervades all our relationships, experiences, interactions and challenges.
I remember the mother of the family we stayed with saying she didn’t realize the influence her family had had upon their next-door neighbors for many years. When they told her of the rosary’s effect, they said, “At first, when we heard all the voices, we didn’t understand what you were doing or what you were saying. It just sounded to us that you were repeating and responding to words of great love.”
The rosary consists of words of great love we sing, and then sing again and again, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. What son doesn’t rejoice in the words of great love directed toward his mother, and what mother does not desire to hear words of great love repeated again and again from her beloved children?
As we celebrate Mothers’ Day by expressing our great love for our own mothers, and those who have been like mothers to us, may we also profess our great love for Mary, the mother of us all.
Join me each Monday thru Thursday evening in May as we livestream the Family Rosary from Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel in the Parish Center at 7 pm.
If you can’t join us at 7 pm, the rosary remains on our Facebook page so you can access it at any time.
So many have commented how wonderful it is to pray the rosary together with parishioners, family and friends separated by self-isolation and social distancing in this moment of challenge.
“Let us run to Mary, and as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
Saint Francis de Sales
From my heart to yours, in the hearts of Jesus and Mary—
Peace and blessing,