Today (October 7th) is the anniversary of the glorious victory won in 1571 by the Christian forces over the Turkish fleet at Lepanto, and the Feast celebrated throughout the Catholic world of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
This triumph of the Cross over the Crescent was universally attributed to the powerful intercession of the Mother of God, whom Pope Pius V fervently invoked with her Rosary in his hand, and to whom the prayers of all Christendom were addressed. Two years after this great favor had been obtained, Gregory XIII instituted an annual feast of thanksgiving to be celebrated on the First Sunday of October in all churches where an altar in honor of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary had been erected.
From being a local festival this celebration gradually spread and became general, until Leo XIII raised it to the rank of a double of the second class for the whole Church.
The devotion of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates at least from the Twelfth Century. The glory of having spread this form of prayer with such extraordinary success is certainly due to the Dominican Order, and , owing to their zeal, the Rosary soon became the most popular devotion throughout the Christian world.
The Holy Rosary as it is now recited, and enriched with great indulgences, represents, after the Divine Office, what may be described as a popular Breviary of the Gospel. By meditating on the appropriate mysteries, it may be adapted to the Liturgical Cycle, and because it unites vocal with mental prayer the Rosary is regarded as the most beautiful and approved devotion of the Latin Church.
For the complete information and instructions on how to practice this devotion:
Were it not for this and other Christian victories in days gone by, we might all be wearing a turbin, jabbering in some form of Arabic language, and living under the horrible sharia law. Count your blessings and thank the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Divine Son, for this huge blessing, and pray the Rosary Daily especially for the continuation of the blessings gained at the battle of Lepanto of letting Christian principles and truth triumph over the heresy of the Muslims, and ask God and His Blessed Mother to grant that our Country remain free from the curse of Sharia law.
Here is a little rundown of the battle of Lepanto from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917.
Occupied by the Turks in 1498, Lepanto is chiefly celebrated for the victory which the combined papal, Spanish, Venetian, and Genoese fleets, under Don John of Austria, gained over the Turkish fleet on 7 Oct., 1571. The latter had 208 galleys and 66 small ships; the Christian fleet about the same number. The crusaders lost 17 ships and 7500 men; 15 Turkish ships were sunk and 177 taken, from 20,000 to 30,000 men disabled, and from 12,000 to 15,000 Christian rowers, slaves on the Turkish galleys, were delivered. Though this victory did not accomplish all that was hoped for, since the Turks appeared the very next year with a fleet of 250 ships before Modon and Cape Matapan, and in vain offered battle to the Christians, it was of great importance as being the first great defeat of the infidels on the sea. Held by the Venetians from 1687 to 1689, and thence by the Turks until 1827, it became in the latter year part of the new Greek realm. Today Naupactus, chief town of the district in the province of Arcarnania and Ætolia, has 4,500 inhabitants, all Orthodox Greeks. The roadstead is rather small and silted up; the strait connects the Bay of Patras with the Gulf of Corinth.
For a more detailed account of the significance in history of this decisive battle go Wikipedia here: