It is a Mission. The mandate given by Jesus to His apostles was missionary:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19-20).
The motivation behind our missionary zeal is: God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Since “Truth” was entrusted to the Church, we the members of the Church, have all received this mandate by Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! So, we set out into the schools, parishes, and families as if sent by God! God leads people on different paths of mission – either through Corporal or Spiritual
works of mercy. Our mission is specifically spiritual, one of service to God by way of… EVANGELIZATION THROUGH PRAYER!
It is an Apostolate. On February 20, 1946, Pope Pius XII stated: “Lay believers are in the front line of Church life.” Lay people, as followers of Jesus Christ, are called to evangelize – to proclaim their faith in Christ by their words and the witness of their life.
The vocation of every Christian is, in nature, apostolic. The Rosary Apostolate is a means by which we can fulfill our call to apostolic activity. Article 900 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the earth.”
It is a Calling. A calling is God’s direct and personal intervention – inviting a person to a particular apostolate, vocation, or service to God, for God’s greater glory.
The word Apostle means “Sent out”. As Jesus sent out His apostles to work for the salvation of souls, the Virgin Mary also sends us out. It was the desire of God the Father to give us, in our age, a new means of leading souls to salvation: devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The mission of the Rosary Apostolate is really Mary’s work.
We are merely making ourselves available to be used by her as instruments, so that she can fulfill the Will of God the Father on earth.
WE ARE CALLED TO BE APOSTLES OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY!
First, by becoming people of prayer. We remain close to Mary’s Heart by praying the Rosary daily. Second, we do as Jesus commanded, “Go out to the whole world and spread the good news” (cf. Mark 16:15). Our work of evangelization through prayer is done through promotion of the Rosary and entrusting all those we serve to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Third, we make an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We strive to live according to the authentic witness given to us by the Blessed Virgin Mary whom we take as our model!
It all began in 1997 with a humble request to pray the Rosary with children in our Catholic Schools. Teachers wanted this experience of prayer for their own children too and asked Sr. Marilina Cinelli, C.P., to visit those schools as well. By her 6th school she felt she needed help and began to recruit retiring teachers to assist her in the mission. At that time, no one imagined there would be a great demand for this type of service. Rapidly, we became a Volunteer Organization. Thus, there was a need to recruit and to quickly put into place structures, rules, and screening measures. Some of the first schools that Sr. Marilina visited were headed by principals that knew her as a young student, her grade school teachers. This familiarity made it easy for principals to request that she present the Rosary in a more interesting way to students and not to bore them by the mere recitation of prayers. The principals wanted stories told and meditations to ponder. It was in 1997 that St. John Paul II launched a three-year preparation program for the Jubilee Year 2000. This is what inspired us to make our school visits a jubilee project. We went into the classrooms with a five-minute presentation of one of the themes proposed by our Holy Father the Pope (simplifying them for children) and we followed by praying the Rosary with meditations connected to the theme of the day.
From the beginning, we wanted to place all the children we met under the protection of the Mother of God. St. John Paul II concluded his visits to many nations by entrusting its people to the Mother of God by an act of Consecration. Likewise, we decided to conclude our visits with a short act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary fitting for children.
It is in this way that the Rosary Apostolate embraced a spirituality of its own. Our first group of members were all consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We continue to invite new members to embrace Mary’s mission by consecrating their service to her Immaculate Heart for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. By our witness and our example, we hope to transmit to the children and youth the great love that the Blessed Virgin Mary had for Jesus!
We discovered there was a growing need for more prayer in our schools, in families and in our society - a need which was expressed by St. John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte:
“Is it not one of the ‘signs of our times’ that in today’s world, despite widespread secularization, there is a widespread demand for spirituality, a demand which expresses itself in large part as a renewed need for prayer... It is therefore essential the education in prayer should become in some way a key-point... of our plans as we enter the third millennium." no. 34
He was our inspiration from the beginning.
Now he is for us an intercessor, role model, and example of how to live our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
By the end of 1997, Sr. Marilina along with a few of the members established a working relationship with the Religion Department of the TCDSB. Themes and Rosary meditations were submitted for review and received approval. The support we received was amazing! They even supplied us with classroom for storage of rosaries. At present, they have graciously offered us the use of two classrooms in St. Maximilian Kolbe School. We are forever grateful to the Directors and Staff at TCDSB for their ongoing support.
Overwhelmed by the request of so many schools, Sr. Marilina Cinelli, C.P. turned to the then retired auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto for advice. He was so pleased to hear that this was happening, he offered to become our first Spiritual Director of the Rosary Apostolate. Giving his full support, he was our main preacher and celebrant at our annual retreat in June until his health no longer permitted. He often reminded us how he always gave rosaries to confirmation students and how important it was to assist children in developing good habits of prayer.