The 1 in 10 Rosary Mission is a grassroots movement of laypeople, priests and religious in Ireland. The movement is under the spiritual leadership of Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of Ireland. Our goal is to encourage 10% of the population, North and South, to commit to praying the Rosary (or a decade of the Rosary) every day. This amounts to 670,000 commitments because approximately 6.7 million people live on the island of Ireland.
For over 700 years the Irish people have found great solace, comfort and inspiration through the recitation of the Rosary. It is an powerful instrument of peace in our hearts, our homes and our world. In times when our forefathers were not freely able to access the Sacraments of the Church, the Rosary kept the flame of faith alive and enabled it to blossom.
In these challenging times in Ireland, where there is so much suffering on personal, social and political levels, we wholeheartedly believe that the rosary – prayed faithfully – will bring about a profound grace of transformation and renewal. This transformation happens first in the person praying the Rosary, then in the family, and finally in our nation.
Servant of God Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was a fervent devotee of Our Lady. As Primate of Hungary, in the Communist era, he consecrated Hungary to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and encouraged the Hungarians to trust Our Lady in the sufferings of the time. For his faith and leadership, he was imprisoned and tortured by the Communists.
Cardinal Mindszenty predicted that Hungary would be free of Marxism only when one tenth of its people were praying the rosary daily. His words were heeded by an Austrian Franciscan, called Fr Petrus Pavilcek OFM, who launched a rosary campaign to encourage 10% of the Austrian population to pray the rosary daily to free their country from Soviet occupation. It took nine years to reach the goal. The impact was incredible. On May 13th, 1955 (the feast of Our Lady of Fatima), suddenly and without any explanation, the occupying Soviet army, decided to entirely leave Austria. Secular historians, unaware of Our Lady’s intervention, consider this departure one of the great mysteries of the last century.
The target in Hungary was not reached on Cardinal Mindszenty’s death, and later this prompted the current Primate of Hungary, Cardinal Erdo, in 2003 to pick up the baton, and lead the campaign to obtain a daily Rosary commitment from 1 out of 10 people in Hungary. Hungary has a population of approximately 10 million. On the feast of the Hungarian King St. Stephen (20th August) in 2006, Cardinal Erdo brought forward the collected signatures of the 1 million praying men and women, each committing to pray the Rosary daily. 1 in 10 had been achieved! This was all the more impressive because only 39% of Hungarians are Catholic whereas in Ireland we have exactly double that, with Catholics standing at 78% of the Irish population.
As soon as they reached their goal Hungary began a dramatic transformation. The country passed a constitution that respects life, marriage and faith. Abortion rates drastically reduced, with the goal of ending abortion altogether now a reality. Marriage and family friendly laws have been enacted. The number of people getting married has increased, and the country’s chronically low birth rate is rising. Religious practice is also making a comeback. Hungary’s response to the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East has surpassed any other European nation with Hungary providing generously for these forgotten refugees.
In Poland, Rosary groups have recently begun gathering commitments from the Polish people transform their own country. They now have 150,000 daily Rosary pledges.
The Scriptural Basis for 1 in 10
The heart of Scripture is Our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross to redeem mankind. Throughout the scriptures, we hear of the few “standing in the breach” for the many. Queen Esther, the Maccabees, Moses, King David, Jeremiah, are prime examples. With the 1 in 10 Rosary Mission, 10% of the population commits to praying the rosary daily for the other 90%.
Scripture also has an interesting array of references to ten and one-tenth. Only one of ten lepers returned to thank Jesus, only ten just men would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah, and in Jewish law, ten constituted a quorum for the purpose of decision making. Gideon was told to send soldiers home until his army was reduced from about 30,000 to 300. Abraham, after a successful military venture, gave one-tenth of his spoils to the royal priest Melchizedek (Gen 14,20).
In the time of Moses, God required a tithe, a religious offering consisting of one tenth of one’s harvest or income, and this practice continues in many Christian households to this day. The essence of tithing is that everything we have comes from God. He has no need of our contribution yet He wills our active participation because it benefits us. Through this Rosary movement, Our Lady invites us to this active participation, to stand in the breach for others by making a commitment to pray for them, knowing that this offering for others will benefit us in profound ways too.