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Fifteen Hundred Families

We wish to express to you our paternal gratitude for the news communicated to us by your zealous pastor and which, by itself, would suffice to fill us with joy: namely, that fifteen hundred families of your parish have begun to honor Mary through the daily recitation of the rosary. Every night, therefore, the incense of prayer will rise to heaven from fifteen hundred homes. It will include the invocations of the Our Father, the praises, greetings, and petitions of the Hail Mary, the hymn of glory to the Most Blessed Trinity. Every evening, while they are praying, they will meditate on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and of Mary, and it will not be difficult to imagine that Mary will beam a heavenly smile upon her children, just as she did at Lourdes when she saw Bernadette and the people lift up their rosaries to her.

The family united in prayer

But above all, every night an event will occur, simple in appearance but of such a nature as to enrapture the angels who are looking down from heaven and listening: families united in prayer in so many homes, saying the rosary before an image of the most holy Virgin. Beloved children, perhaps you cannot imagine how this can suffice to give us confidence that your parish is well oriented from now on toward that integral religious rebirth which we wished for in the Encyclical Fulgens Corona and which we again stressed in the Radio Message to Italian Catholic Action.

We must content ourselves, beloved children, with expressing one thought to you, even though the very special affection which binds us to our faithful of Rome would prompt us to prolong as much as possible your present meeting with the Father of all: but perhaps this simple mention of it may help to give firmness and perseverance to your resolve.

The wish and recommendation of the Holy Father

Beloved children, if we were to sum up what we ask of the Lord for you and also what each one desires for himself, perhaps the most comprehensive formula would be this: may the Lord reign in each and every family with His grace and with a befitting material well-being in harmony and peace.

Now the family rosary will be very advantageous in attaining this. If the family prays, it lives and, if it prays as one, it lives as one. We exhort you, beloved children, to pray in order to live: for the life of the soul and for the life of the body; we exhort you to pray as one in order to live in harmony of minds.

The real life of the Christian soul, as of the Christian family, is the divine life. To possess this life in you, to preserve it, to make it grow, you are pledging yourselves to elevate your mind and your heart to God by means of one of the most simple and most complete of prayers: the holy rosary is in fact one of the most beautiful ways of entering into a conversation with heaven.

(Ask not only for daily bread, but for work to provide it for our brothers,)

“A family that prays is a family that lives”

A family that prays is a family that lives. The soul lives by divine life; the body lives by material life. God provides for the lilies of the field and for the birds of the air. Will He not provide for persons and for families who strive to be united to Him and who ask Him every night jointly and with much insistence: “Give us this day our daily bread?”

Pray, beloved children; pray to your good and all-powerful Father; pray to Him well, pray without tiring. Ask that His name be sanctified; that His kingdom come; that His will be done. And ask Him for daily bread for yourselves and for your children.

If, as you have promised, you recite the holy rosary as a family, all united, you will experience peace, and you will have harmony of minds in your homes.

In a world divided by so much hatred, blessed are they who find, as it were, an oasis of peace in their own home!

Few means, it seems to us, are as efficacious in promoting and preserving union of souls as prayer said in common by a family under the loving and smiling gaze of Mary. Therefore, renew your pledge, beloved sons and daughters. And may other parishes of Rome also give us a gift of such joyful news!

Pope Pius XII, Allocution to the faithful of the parish of St. Felix, Rome, December 13, 1953.

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