Saint Pius V established this feast in 1573. The purpose was to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turks at Lepanto—a victory attributed to the praying of the rosary. Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.
The development of the rosary has a long history. First a practice developed of praying 150 Our Fathers in imitation of the 150 Psalms. Then there was a parallel practice of praying 150 Hail Marys. Soon a mystery of Jesus’ life was attached to each Hail Mary. Though Mary’s giving of the rosary to Saint Dominic is recognized as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of Saint Dominic. One of them, Alan de la Roche, was known as “the apostle of the rosary.” He founded the first Confraternity of the Rosary in the 15th century. In the 16th century, the rosary was developed to its present form—with the 15 mysteries: joyful, sorrowful and glorious. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added five Mysteries of Light to this devotion.
In the depth of faith, we believe that what we pray for, we will receive. As Pius prayed in thanksgiving for a victory, we might pray the rosary today in thanksgiving for the victory over the Coronavirus. At the same time, let us pray in thanksgiving for all of those who, day-after-day, go into the hospitals and research rooms to battle against the virus. Let us pray in thanksgiving for the noble lives of those who have battled against the virus and lost, and for those who had the good fortune to win the battle. Let us pray in thanksgiving for all of the ordinary people who battle against the virus by wearing a mask and keeping safe distance from others. Let us pray in thanksgiving for all the essential workers who make it possible for us to safely receive the goods we need.
Let us pray and give thanks.
The Story of Our Lady of the Rosary (Source: Franciscan Media), retrieved from https://www.ccvichapel.org/post/our-lady-of-the-rosary-nuestra-señora-del-rosario