Advent Pastoral Letter 2002

Rediscovering the Beauty of the Holy Rosary

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At the time you were devoutly praying the Rosary during the vigil for our beloved Cardinal John Baptist Wu and as I related his life to the mystery of the Rosary during the Requiem Mass, the Holy Father was writing an apostolic letter exulting the faithful to rediscover the beauty of the Rosary.

During Advent, in this Year of the Rosary, may we use with special fervour, especially in our families, this powerful prayer tool.

The prayers of the Rosary are simple and easy to learn. The repetition of its prayers helps to calm the soul, which is especially important in Hong Kong, as we are often rushed and busy. Once this peace of the heart has been restored to our souls then Our Lady will be able to lead us into a deep meditation of the mysteries of Jesus Christ.

At the start of new millennium, the Holy Father told us that we should constantly contemplate the life of Jesus. The Rosary is a very useful tool that allows us to do this.

The Holy Father encourages us to meditate not only on the traditional 15 mysteries of the Rosary - Joy, Sorrow and Glory - but also on five new mysteries of light.


These allow us to meditate on Jesus’ life before the Passion Christ’s baptism in the Jordan; the miracle at Cana; the proclamation of the kingdom of God with Jesus’ call to conversion; the Transfiguration and the institution of the Eucharist.


Through contemplating these mysteries Our Lady can help us to become more like her Son and acquire holiness.


Through contemplating these mysteries Our Lady can help us to become more like her Son and acquire holiness.


The holiness of Christians is not individualistic but communitarian and the most fundamental community is the family. The final report of the Diocesan Synod, the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and the Holy Father himself insist that we should protect the family, which is the fundamental cell of society, the cradle of life and the greenhouse of Faith. The Holy Father says, “A family united in the recitation of the Holy Rosary will be kept united in mutual love.”


The bigger family of the church during difficult times in history, through the Holy Rosary experienced the powerful help of Our Lady. Such was the case in 1572 during the naval battle in Lepanto and in 1682 in Vietnam when Christians were freed from siege after praying the Rosary. Then in 1814, Pope Pius VII was freed from Napoleon thanks to the Rosary. The church today also faces many challenges, there is a great confusion of moral ideas and worldly temptations, but victory is possible through the power of the Holy Rosary.

The Holy Father encourages us to say the Rosary for peace in the world. Wars are still raging and many live under the threat of terrorism. Such conflict creates countless innocent victims and an escalation of hatred. Only our heavenly Mother can obtain from her Risen Son a real peace for mankind which is based on justice.


Dear brothers and sisters, although the Year of the Rosary began in October, Advent, which marks the beginning of the liturgical year, has been chosen as a special time for us to turn to this powerful prayer tool in our search for the peace and joy of Christmas.

So during Advent let us offer to Our Lady, the Virgin Mother Mary, the roses made up of our prayers.

Your servant in Christ,
+ Bishop Joseph ZEN, SDB

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