Went to church early this morning,, and it was superdecorated. A feast of the Virgin: yes, the feast of the Holy Rosary was last week, a feast day that used to be called Our Lady of Victory, to celebrate how prayers helped the victory at Lepanto against the Turks.
but this one is the Filipino feasts of our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval, that commemorates the naval battle that kept the Dutch and English from taking the country over.
there is also the feast of the Holy name of Mary, that commemorates the arrival of the Polish cavalry that broke the Siege of Vienna.
the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, who encouraged catholics to repent and pray for Russia so that she wouldn't spread her "errors" all over the world, will also remember how Catholics for 70 years prayed the rosary to convert Russia, and how the Iron Curtain fell with little violence and no civil wars.
And of course, Filipinos remember our own People Power revolution, when the Army under General Ramos (a protestant) backed Corey, and was defended from Marcos' local troops by a million Pinoys lead by Cardinal Jaime Sin carrying a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and praying the rosary and singing hymns. There is no Catholic feast day yet, but there is a shrine on the EDSA (main street) with a thirty foot tall madonna, one of the ugliest madonnas anyone has ever seen. Oh well.
The idea is that if you pray enough, you can stop wars.
Why the virgin? Maybe because for poor people, the big shots who preach make God into a boogeyman who judges all your sins and is ready to smash you, but Mary, like your own Mom, will support you and welcome you back.
and the rosary is the prayer of "poor people": originally it was said by the illiterate in place of the 150 psalms.
So Mary is not just a woman who held the maker of the Universe in her womb for 9 months and raised him to adulthood, she is also a symbol of God's love and mercy.