Nine years ago, in a parish in the state of Florida (United States), the group Rosario de la Aurora was born. One of its members, Juan Carlos Castañeda, tells us about him and the importance of prayer in our lives.
“Prayer is the greatest gift and grace that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us.”
This is what Juan Carlos Castañeda tells us. He is a member of the Rosary of the Dawn, a group that every first Saturday each month meets in different parishes of the United States to pray and meditate the Holy Rosary, that beautiful dialogue we can have with the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. And if, when reading these first lines, any reader of Digital Catholic Missioners feels putting it into practice in their community outside or within the United States, read the interview and see how you can accomplish this project. A project which reminds us prayer is an activity that the children of God must do every day.
–What is the Rosary of the Dawn?
-The Rosary of the Dawn is a catholic devotion in which all the believers are invited to join with their family and community to pray the meditated Holy Rosary. We go singing to our Lady after each mystery as some people carry the image of the Holy Virgin Mary on their shoulders. We, all together, joined in prayer, go in procession. We usually make the procession around the parish.
-How and when was this group born?
-The group begins as an answer to a call from our Lady my father feels in his heart. He goes to his parish priest and asks for permission to carry out every first Saturday each month at 6.30 a.m.at St Edward’s Church (located in Pembroke Pines, FL) a procession meditating the Holy Rosary in community. He used to participate in this devotion many years ago in Colombia, a tradition that comes from Spain. After getting the priest’s consent, the first Holy Rosary of the Dawn started in Pembroke Pines, FL on Saturday, September 3rd, 2010.
-Why have you chosen the first Saturday each month and what is the dynamics of the meetings like, obviously apart from praying the rosary?
-In the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal, She and later our Lord Jesus Christ asked Sister Lucía to realize and spread the devotion of the five first Saturdays of the month, during five subsequent months in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; this devotion means that each first Saturday of a month during five subsequent months, acts of piety are carried out with the intention of repairing the sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The dynamics begins with a meeting of all the faithful in front of the church where we go, with a heart ready to pray, to meditate on the Holy Rosary and accompany Our Lady. In general, the leader of each parish gives the participants each mystery of the Rosary to be read and meditated. The fifth mystery is usually done by the children and the young. During the prayer of the Our Father and the Hail Mary, we all walk in procession around the church following those who carry on their shoulders the image of Our Lady. When each mystery finishes, we stop and sing guided by the book of the Rosary of the Dawn. Those who carry the image of the Virgin change for each mystery. Every mystery is read and we walk in procession until we get to the grotto of the Holy Virgin (if there is one in the church). After finishing the mysteries, we greet Our Lady with the Save Regina, we consecrate ourselves to Her and we do the Litanies to the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the end, we always exchange the sign of peace and get ready for the Holy Mass.
-As the site shows, by now you only have presence in the United States? How can believers of the rest of the world participate?
-Nowadays we broadcast the Holy Rosary of the Dawn live through “Radio María Españo” in the United States, allowing its listeners to participate through its radio waves and its mobile application. For those who are outside the United States and wish to participate, they can download the mobile application of Radio María and listen live to the Holy Rosary of the Dawn every first Saturday each month. As an additional alternative, they can watch the live broadcast on Facebook.
-Are you planning to extend your action to other countries or how can someone or a parish replicate this activity?
-Our mission is to spread this beautiful devotion everywhere in the world, whoever wishes to replicate this activity can contact us via our website www.rosariosdelaaurora.org or Facebook at @rosariodeaurora and we explain the dynamics and send the guides. If it is a layperson, they must coordinate with their parish priest for the blessing and the approval; depending on the country and the language, we send the books of the Rosary of the Dawn (nowadays they are in three languages: English, Spanish and Creole).
-Why is it important to pray the rosary, whether it is every day or now and then?
–The Holy Rosary leads us to meditate on the life, passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the hands of our Mother Mary. It is a very powerful prayer that brings peace, love and charity to our hearts. When we pray as a family, we feel a great peace, a true Love and we all go hand in hand with Mary willing to do whatever our Lord Jesus Christ tells us. There is no devil who can resist the Holy Rosary; it is the most powerful weapon Our Lord has given us through His Holy Mother.
It is advisable to do it every day and specially with the family, when you know something so good and you see its fruit, you will want to do it many times, not now and then.
-Is there a technique to pray it or does it require previous preparation?
-It only needs disposition, prepare your heart with burning love, then call Our Lady and take her hand, let her take you and guide you, you will then see so many graces coming from heaven that you will want to be a faithful Apostle of Jesus through Mary.
-Is it convenient to accompany it reading the Bible?
– When you do the Holy Rosary, you are reading the Gospels; each mystery of the Holy Rosary is taken from the Bible, even when you pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary. They are prayers entirely coming from the Word of God; that is why it is very important to meditate each mystery. As we pray and say the Hail Mary, we enter the mysteries of the life, passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
-Should we pray it on our own or with the community?
-You can pray it on your own or with the community. Each time you pray the Holy Rosary is of great benefit to your life and to the community. Always look for a moment to do it also as a family; remember family that prays together, stays together.
-What do you say to those who tell you the Rosary is not the kind of prayer that attracts them because it is reiterative?
-I would say the Holy Rosary is so powerful that Satan does not resist this prayer and flees when the Hail Mary is just mentioned. I will give you a simple example: when we pray, we want to be in contact with our creator through our Lord Jesus Christ; and every time we want to do it in the best way as when we talk to somebody we love a lot and we would like to be a long time sharing with this person. Now, if you want to be a great artist or athlete, you prepare and train for long hours and days, repeating each time more and more the same exercises or activities. If you are going to run a great marathon, you start running a few meters as a beginner, but when you get to the great day you will have run those meters several times to be able to reach the marathon finish line. The prayer is like this. With the Holy Rosary, you are preparing, you meditate and you go deeper and deeper, and the best thing is that you go hand in hand with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, she guides you. Who knew Jesus better than Her? The best part is that she always takes you to Jesus. If you get tired, if you fall asleep, she is eager to encourage you and accompany you as a loving Mother who loves all her children so much.
-Is it the same to pray and to orate?
– Pray and orate are synonyms (orate is not usually used in English). But we can explain it in a very simple way: there are prayers in the Holy Scriptures like the Our Father that our Lord Jesus Christ taught us. When we take this prayer and say it, we are praying the Our Father, if we take the Psalms and say them, we are praying. The same happens with the Hail Mary which is the Word of God (we find it in Saint Luke’s Gospel), we are talking to God through a prayer. We can also talk of praying when we speak to God with our own words.
When we pray the Holy Rosary, we are united in prayer through His Word and that is why the Holy Rosary is a very powerful prayer.
-Why, according to you, does the believer have to practise prayer?
-I would say that believers and non-believers have great need of God, since we have been created to his image and resemblance, and as children have the need to talk to their Father, we must, for our good and that of all humanity, be in constant communication with God through prayer. We should pray when we wake up, when we eat, when we go to sleep, when we work, when we study; we should never get tired of thanking God for so much Love and Mercy to each of us. I think it is very important to ask for forgiveness to God for the offenses due to our sins. Prayer is the greatest gift and grace that our Lord Jesus Christ has given us.
For more information and to download the PDF with the guide for the Rosary of the Aurora, visit: www.rosariodelaaurora.org