Students and staff at St. William of York School in Stafford joined in prayer Oct. 7 at the newly renovated parish grotto for a rosary in honor of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Father Will Nyce, Parish Vicar, told the students about the Battle of Lepanto, which took place on this day more than 451 years ago. He told how the fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholics organized by Pope Pius V, inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Ottoman Empire, sparing Europe with fervent prayers to the Virgin Mary through the rosary.
The grotto honors Our Lady of Guadalupe. Father Nyce noted that Admiral Andrea Doria, a fleet commander during the Battle of Lepanto, kept a copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe given to him by King Philip II of Spain in the cabin of his ship. In honor of the intercession of Our Lady and the subsequent victory of the Holy League, Pope Pius V instituted a new Catholic Feast of Our Lady of Victory now celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
“It was truly a blessing to see so many children and staff praying together on this important holiday,” said director Jen Schiller. “It is important for our students to realize that the spiritual battle they wage each day in prayer is no less important than the physical battles fought for faith so many years ago.”