In Asia, the Rosary is also recited by non-Christians
by Piero Gheddo

In Fatima, where Pope Francis went on a pilgrimage, Mary exhorted us to recite the rosary. Card. Martini’s devotion to Mary. In South Korea, Catholic buildings are called "the Church of the Mother." The statue of Mary in the Brunei church. The Shrine of Gunadala (India), which has shaped friendship between Hindus and Muslims even during period partition.

Milan (AsiaNews) - "Dear pilgrims! - Pope Francis shouted on May 13th to the million faithful who came to Fatima - we have a Mother in Heaven! We have a Mother! Clinging to her as her children, we live in the hope that lies on Jesus .... To be one day with Him and with Mary at the Father's right-hand in the Kingdom of God ... This hope is the lever of life for all of us! A hope that always supports us, until our last breath .... Under Mary's protection, we are morning sentinels in the world, who can contemplate the true face of Jesus the Savior, the one shining in Easter, and rediscovering the young and beautiful face of the Church, which shines when it is missionary, welcoming, free , faithful, poor in means and rich in love. "

Christ’s mother presented herself to the three little shepherds of Fatima, Lucia, and the saints Jacinta and Francisco, as 'Our Lady of the Rosary', and called upon people to "recite the Rosary every day, to bring about the end of the war and peace".

One hundred years ago, when Mary appeared to the three Portuguese children, it was 1917. There was "the useless slaughter" of the First World War (as Pope Benedict XV had predicted); And in Russia the communist revolutionist Vladimir Ilych Lenin had taken power with a coup and founded the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, whose roots were sprouted in the "brief century" of 1900, some thirty other Socialist Republics, which all went bankrupt. None of them led to people the promised "liberation".

On October 13, 1917, the day of the great miracle of the sun twirling and approaching the earth, seen by more than 70,000 people, even 20km away, Mary returned to say: "Always recite the Rosary every day, War is over ... " Mary, Queen of Peace, asks us to continue the daily recitation of the Rosary to obtain the gift of peace from God.

Even in Lourdes, Pompeii and other apparitions, Mary the Virgin Mother of ours, has recommended reciting the Rosary.

I remember that in the early 90s, in the Milan diocesan pastoral council (of which I was a member), Card. Carlo Maria Martini complained about the diminution of devotion to Mary and the recitation of the Rosary. He said: "Popular devotion to Mary, who for centuries has kept faith in Christ of our Christian peoples is now despised. The Rosary is criticized as a superstitious form of "Mariatriaria" (that is, adoration of Mary). But they forget that the Mother of God brings souls to her Son, Jesus Christ. Let us return to saying the Rosary together in families, for them to be more united and to be educated, through Mary, to faith and love of Christ. "

The power of statues of the Virgin

Praying the Rosary also has another effect: Mary carries souls to Christ, even those who are far from Jesus and the Church.

By visiting the young non-Christian Churches and missions throughout the world, many times I have seen that Virgin Mother Mary is honored by all, and through her the Spirit brings the love and peace of Christ. In South Korea I have seen several Catholic churches place put a large statue of the Virgin at their entrance, smiling and with her arms outstretched in invitation to enter the house of God; The Catholic Church is called by the people "the Church of the Mother".

In Borneo (where in 1856-1862 Pime founded the Church), in 2004,  I was in the sultanate of Brunei, an all-Islamic state, with half a million inhabitants and 20,000 Filipino, Bengali, Indonesian Catholics, immigrant laborers. The Apostolic Vicar and Bishop, Msgr. Cornelio Sim, told me: "The Sultanate is sitting on oil and the Sultan's families is very rich ... In the Bandar Seri Begawan capital, the Catholic Church is in a vast enclosed land where there are schools, hospital and other educational charitable works. Our church is close to the main entrance and the street. We had placed a great statue of Mary in front of the church door, also venerated by Muslims, who invited us to come to church. Many Muslims also came. So we were forced to turn the big statue towards the church wall. So now from the road you see only the great statue turned in the opposite direction! ".  

The "Beautiful Lady" of Gunadala

In February 1964 I was in Vijayawada, one of the 12 dioceses founded by Pime in India, which today has about 3.5 million inhabitants and 270,000 Catholics. In 1924 Father Paolo Arlati, brought a great statue of Our Lady of Lourdes from Italy, and the Pime Brothers (lay consecrated missionaries ) put it on the highest point of the Gunadala hill, overlooking the city of Vijayawada.  They built a road and steps leading up to the feet of Mary, placed in an open cave so you can see her from afar (see photo 3). Little by little, first Christians, then Hindus and Muslims, went to Gunadala Hill to pray to Mary, who is revered as the protector of the city because, in 1947, shortly before Independence (August 15 ), there were bloody struggles between Hindus and Muslims throughout India (about 4-5 million killed) which led to the division between India and Pakistan. Vijayawada, a city with many Muslims, was saved from those fratricidal massacres by Our Lady of Gunadala, to which all came in prayer. These pilgrimages had created a climate of fraternity.

On 11 February 1964, like every year, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes was celebrated. Throughout the previous day and on the day of the feast, in the streets leading up to the hill a continual ascents and descents of devotees who want to touch the feet of Our Lady, pray, offer incense, some cut their hair that day, fulfilling vows. A sea of ​​people invaded Gunadala, with lepers, handicapped, sick people carried on stretches or carts to the feet of Mary. In two days, about 150,000 devotees of Mary, not a few of them with the Rosary around their neck, even non-Christians, because the Rosary is the sacred sign of the "Beautiful Lady of Gunadala" that protects the city and the families. Even today, more than half a century later, the statue of Mary is on the hill and the pilgrimages are also repeated throughout the year, even from afar to Our Lady of Lourdes. Popular rumors speak of miraculous healing. The primary hospital of Viajayawada told me in 1964 two lepers were healed and other sick people. But the greatest miracle is that it has led Hindus and Muslims to live together in peace.