By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published October 14, 2021
SMYRNA—A Mass for the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary for Domestic Violence Awareness Month was Oct. 7.
Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III celebrated the Mass at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was established by St. Pius V in 1573 to thank God for the victory of Christians over the Turkish invasion, attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Mary stands by us in the worst times, said Bishop Shlesinger during the homily.
“When we’re carrying the crosses of life, Mary is there. When we experience suffering in our life or violence in our life, Mary is there. This is why the rosary is a powerful weapon,” said the bishop.
The rosary is a meditative way of entering into the mysteries for how to live life and understanding how Mary is bringing us closer to Jesus, said the bishop.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was launched nationwide in October 1987 as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while also raising awareness, according to the website for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Safe Shelter, a center for domestic violence services, reports that 35.1% of Georgia women and 39.9% of Georgia men experience intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence and/or stalking. In 2018, 97 Georgia citizens lost their lives due to domestic violence.
“Families are being torn apart in many ways, by messages in the media, pornography, other things that dissolve the marriage,” said Bishop Shlesinger. “The family is so important today because that’s where we all come from, a family.”
When we think of domestic violence, we may think of the act, explained Bishop Shlesinger. “But there is a way that we need to look at [it], not simply as an action of violence. But maybe underneath all of that is the source of sin or indifference even towards God.”
We ask Mary to protect and help those who are hurting right now, especially because of domestic violence, said Bishop Shlesinger.
The Mass was sponsored by the Marriage, Family and Pastoral Care Ministry in the Office of Formation and Discipleship.
“As an archdiocesan office, we have sought to provide information and resources to help raise awareness, combat domestic violence and support those who may encounter violence in their home,” said Patrick Metts, associate director for the Office of Formation and Discipleship.
The office plans to offer the Mass annually going forward and encourage parishes in the Atlanta Archdiocese to do the same.
“It is a great way of offering spiritual support and accompaniment and also raising awareness in our community and parishes,” said Metts.
For additional information from the Marriage, Family and Pastoral Care Ministry, visit https://bit.ly/3oZCaHN.