Fr. Gobbi’s Circular Letter 2003 – English

Return to Letter Titles

Ave Maria Milan: January 1, 2003

Year of The Rosary


Dear Brothers,

To all, I offer my affectionate wishes of peace, of trust and of comfort in these painful times of the great trial that have arrived for the Church and for all humanity.

For this reason, our Holy Father John Paul II has proclaimed 2003 as the Year of the Rosary.

“At the start of a millennium which began with the terrifying attacks of 11 September 2001, a millennium which witnesses every day in numerous parts of the world fresh scenes of bloodshed and violence, to rediscover the Rosary means to immerse oneself in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who ‘is our peace’ ”… (Rosarium Virginis Mariae- R.V.M., 6)

“The grave challenges confronting the world at the start of this new Millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on high, capable of guiding the hearts of those living in situations of conflict and those governing the destinies of nations, can give reason to hope for a brighter future. The Rosary is by its nature a prayer for peace…” (R.V.M., 40)

“The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.” (R.V.M., 39)

“I desire that during the course of this year the Rosary should be especially emphasized and promoted in the various Christian communities. I therefore proclaim the year from October 2002 to October 2003 the Year of the Rosary.”

(R.V.M., 3)

This urgent invitation from the Pope must be welcomed, in a most particular way, by the priests and faithful of the Marian Movement of Priests.

+ + +

In the year 2002, I was able to participate in regional cenacles in Brazil, Bolivia, Italy, France, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Portugal. With 56 flights, I visited 77 cities and presided over 107 cenacles, in which 35 bishops, 1,700 priests and 550,000 faithful participated.

In Collevalenza [Italy], at the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] held in the form of a continuous cenacle, 15 archbishops and bishops, and about 300 priests from the five continents took part.

During the past year, the Marian Movement of Priests has been particularly tried, because of great moral or physical sufferings that have stricken many of its members. For this reason, I have been very close to you, bearing with you the weight of the Cross, and thus seconding the action of Our Lady who is purifying this work of hers so that, during the days of the great trial, it [the M.M.P.] may become the extraordinary sign of her presence and her maternal comfort.

I entrust to the Will of the Lord and to the design of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the fulfillment of the schedule of cenacles which I have prepared for this year.


In Collevalenza, from June 29 – July 5, at the Shrine of Merciful Love, there will take place the Spiritual Exercises [Retreat] for the bishops and priests of the Marian Movement of Priests from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

I inform you of the following:

  1. a) There will be room for all in the same house. Few laypersons will be allowed to attend, and only those who have a responsibility in the M.M.P.
  2. b) I invite the priests to bring with them their surplus Mass intentions to be offered as fraternal assistance to those who find themselves in financial difficulty.
  3. c) As always, address all inquiries and reservation requests to:
  4. Florio Quercia S.J.

Via Guerrazzi, 14

40.125 BOLOGNA

Tel & Fax: (39) – 051- 23.34.89


Priests from the United States may contact:

Rev. Albert G. Roux, National Director

St. Francis, ME 04774-0008

Tel. (207) 398-3375


Feeling the weight of fatigue, of my age and of my precarious health condition greatly increase, I entrust myself totally into the arms of the heavenly Mother for the completion of the schedule that I have prepared for abroad.

From January 15 to April 3, I will go to Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay; and on June 28 to Slovenia. If circumstances allow, from September to December I have the intention of going to Canada, the United States, Mexico and El Salvador.


Rome-April 23; Pompei-April 25; Lecce-April 29;

  1. Gabriele-May 2; Collevalenza-May 6; Florence-May 8; Caravaggio-May 13; Turin-May 15; Genoa-May 20; Bologna-May 22; S. Vito-May 27; Padua-May 29; Loreto-June 12.


In this year of the Rosary, I invite all of you to spread everywhere the Cenacles of the Marian Movement of Priests, because in these the Holy Rosary is always recited, the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is renewed, and there is felt the comfort of her maternal protection in the time of the great trial.

“…the time has come for all to hasten into the safe refuge of my Immaculate Heart. Do not lose courage. Be strong in trust and confidence. (…)

The further you enter into the time of the great trial, the more will you experience, in an extraordinary way, my motherly presence close to you, to help, defend, protect and console you, and to prepare for you new days of serenity and peace.”

(486uv, Jan. 1, 1993)

Therefore, this year of the Rosary must be, for the Marian Movement of Priests, the Year of the Cenacle.


“And so I renew again today my invitation to multiply the cenacles of prayer, which I have asked for, with such motherly insistence.” (496d, May 30, 1993)

“The period of the purification and the great tribulation in which you are living must be for you the time of the cenacle. (573j)

This is, for the Church and for all humanity, the time of the Cenacle. (573d)

It isthe time of the cenacle for the Church, invited by me to enter into the cenacle of my Immaculate Heart. (…) (573e)

It isthe time of the cenacle for this poor humanity, so possessed by the spirits of evil, impelled along the road of pleasure and pride, of sin and impurity, of egoism and unhappiness. Humanity must now enter into the cenacle of my Immaculate Heart: here, as Mother, I will teach it to pray and to repent; I will lead it to penance and conversion, to a change of heart and of life.

…For this reason, I am asking today that the Church and humanity enter into the cenacle which your heavenly Mother has prepared for you.” (573hi – May 22, 1996)


During this year, I invite all of you to meditate on the apostolic letter of our Holy Father Pope John Paul II, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae.”  For the Marian Movement of Priests, it must be a cause of joy and comfort because therein are emphasized aspects that are clearly indicated in our book, “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”

  1. a) The Rosary Is Requested by Our Lady

“The prayer of my predilection is the holy rosary.

For this reason, in my many apparitions I always ask that it be recited. I unite myself with those who say it; I request it from all with solicitude and maternal preoccupation.”

(275cd; October 7, 1983)

“Well-known are the occasions in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries on which the Mother of Christ made her presence felt and her voice heard, in order to exhort the People of God to this form of contemplative prayer. I would mention in particular, on account of their great influence on the lives of Christians and the authoritative recognition they have received from the Church, the apparitions of Lourdes and of Fatima; these shrines continue to be visited by great numbers of pilgrims seeking comfort and hope.” (R.V.M., 7)

  1. b) The Rosary Is a Simple and Profound Prayer

“Simple yet profound, it [the rosary] still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.” (…)

“The Rosary is my favorite prayer. A marvelous prayer! Marvelous in its simplicity and its depth.” (R.V.M., 1,2)

“Why is the holy rosary so efficacious?

Because it is a simple prayer, a humble one, and it forms you spiritually in littleness, in meekness, in simplicity of heart.

Today Satan is successfully conquering everything with the spirit of pride and of rebellion against God, and he is terrified by those who follow your heavenly Mother along the road of littleness and humility. While this prayer is despised by the great and the proud, it is recited with so much love and so much joy by my little ones, by the poor, by children, by the humble, the suffering, by the many, many faithful souls who have welcomed my invitation.

Satan’s pride will again be conquered by the humility of little ones, and the Red Dragon will find himself decisively humiliated and defeated when I bind him not by a great chain but by a very frail cord: the holy rosary.” (275e-h; Oct. 7, 1983)

  1. c) The Rosary Is a Christological Prayer

“To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.” (R.V.M., 3)

“The Virgin Mary is the unrivalled model of Christian contemplation (cf. Apostolic Letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae”, n. 10). From Jesus’ conception until his resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Mother kept the gaze of her Immaculate Heart on her divine Son: a wonderful, penetrating, sorrowful and radiant insight (cf. ibid.). It is this Marian look full of faith and love, that the individual Christian and the ecclesial community make their own when they recite the Rosary.” (John Paul II, Angelus, Oct. 27, 2002, #2)

“By contemplating its mysteries, you are led to understand the plan of Jesus, as spelled out in all of his life, from the Incarnation to the consummation of his glorious Pasch, and thus you penetrate ever more profoundly into the mystery of the redemption.

And you begin to understand this mystery of love through your heavenly Mother; moving through the passageway of her Heart, you gain possession of the immense treasure of the divine and burning charity of the Heart of Christ.”

(275n,o; Oct. 7, 1983)


The fruit of the cenacle is the second Pentecost.

“Within this new and spiritual cenacle, I will prepare [humanity] to receive the gift of the second Pentecost, which will renew the face of the earth.” (573i, May 22, 1996)

“In these cenacles, the Holy Spirit will come down to lead you to the second Pentecost…

Then the Holy Spirit will come down as a comfort upon the mourning of your days, in which the great trial has already come.

Amidst the mourning of a humanity without God, there will come down the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who will lead the whole world to the perfect glorification of the Heavenly Father, bringing about a new marriage of love between a renewed humanity and its Lord who has created, redeemed and saved it.

Amidst the mourning of a divided, darkened and wounded Church, there will be felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who will clothe it with fortitude and wisdom, with grace and holiness, and with love and light, in such a way that it may give its full witness to Jesus, living in it until the end of the world.

Amidst the mourning of souls, made slaves of Satan, immersed in the shadow of sin and death, there will alight the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who will give the light of the presence of God, the life of divine grace, and the fire of love, so that in them the Most Holy and Divine Trinity will be able to take up its permanent dwelling.

Amidst the mourning of the great trial, there will come down the comfort of the divine presence of the Spirit of the Lord, who will lead you to live — with confidence, courage, hope, serenity and love — through the events, which are awaiting you.


And so today, I invite you to unite your prayer to mine, so that the Spirit of the Lord may come down upon you, with all his gifts.

Come, O Holy Spirit. 

Come, and change the face of the earth. 

Come, quickly. 

Come, in these last times. 

Come, now that the great trial has arrived. 

Come, and bring us your second Pentecost, so that our eyes may see your greatest miracle, that of the new heavens and new earth.” (496 h-p, May 30, 1993)


Then the Holy Spirit will give its perfect witness to Jesus who will return in glory and will make all things new. With Mary, let us go with joy towards Christ. To Jesus Christ who comes, throw open wide the doors of our heart, of our life and of our homes. Let us live the anxious yet magnificent hour of this second Advent. With the strength of our witness, let us proclaim to all that which St. Peter announced before the Sanhedrin: “For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one [Jesus Christ] by which we can be saved.” (cf. Acts 4:12)

He alone is our Savior; He alone is our Redeemer. Because he is the only-begotten Son of the Father, [who was] conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the ever Virgin Mother, who died on the Cross for our Redemption, and is risen, because He is God. Jesus Christ is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the luminous Morning Star, who leads us to live the new day, illumined by the contemplation of his Face.

“To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ’s face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul’s words can then be applied to us: ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit’ ” (2Cor 3:18). (R.V.M., 9)

“It [the Rosary] blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to ‘set out into the deep’ (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, ‘the way, and the truth and the life’ (Jn 14:6), ‘the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn.’ ”

(R.V.M., 1)

“I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.”

(R.V.M., 43)

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, writes: “The essence of the Liturgy is summarized in the prayer given to us by St. Paul and the Didache: ‘Maranatha – Come, O Lord.’ In the Liturgy, the Parousia is already fulfilled, but this comes to pass by directing us toward the Lord who is coming, and precisely by teaching us to invoke COME LORD JESUS! It [the Liturgy] leads us to perceive, even today, his response and to experience its truth: YES, I AM COMING SOON! (Rev. 22, 17-20). (from Il Timone, n. 22, p. 40)

I entrust to you, who are the directors, the task of sending this letter to the members of the Marian Movement of Priests, so that it may bring to all my affectionate greeting along with my priestly blessing.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

Your little brother,

Don Stefano Gobbi