Today is the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary, a.k.a our Lady of Victory. The feast marks the day the outnumbered fleet of the Holy League defeated the mighty fleet of the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, a crucial victory in stemming the growing tide of militant Islamic expansion into Europe. In our day, with Christians increasingly persecuted by militant Muslims, Lepanto and this feast have a a particular resonance. Its main message for us of course is that our greatest weapon against any evil is prayer, not least prayer to and with our Lady.
One very Christian country in which Catholics are facing terror from Muslim separatists is the Philippines. It is a country with a wonderful tradition and culture, but also significant poverty.
My spiritual son (**ahem**…. well, I baptized him at least!), Dr Stephen Bullivant, has pledged to run his first full marathon this New Year’s Eve, and while he runs he shall pray the rosary non-stop. He is seeking sponsorship in order to raise money for a charity supporting street children in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
If you could spare even only a couple of pounds, then please do contribute. It would be a worthy tribute to our Lady of the Rosary, and a sign of our faith in action. He has a Facebook page for his Marython, or you can go straight to the donation page.
Stephen lectures in theology at St Mary’s University College (SMUC), Strawberry Hill (Twickenham), and though a mere bairn he is already married with a daughter. Tonight at SMUC is launched his new book, Faith and Unbelief: A Theology of Atheism, which seeks to equip Christians with a modern and authentically Catholic approach to engaging with the atheism that now pervades our culture and society. As such it is far more accessible than standard academic theology. It seems a very timely release in these last weeks of the Year of Faith.