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The Rosary

ROSARY PRAYERS | MYSTERIES | HISTORY | CATECHISM | DIRECTORY ON POPULAR PIETY (excerpt) | Adiutricem, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Rosary | DIUTURNI TEMPORIS, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Rosary | INGRUENTIUM MALORUM, Encyclical of Pope Pius XII
on Reciting the Rosary (Vatican Website) | GRATA RECORDATIO, Encyclical of Pope John XXIII on the Rosary, September 26, 1959 (Vatican Website) |
POPE JOHN PAUL II on the ROSARY | ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE | FAMILY ACTIVITY | Marian Feast Days | Pope Benedict XVI | The Rosary & Eucharistic Adoration (Adoremus Website)

October is the month in which Mary, Most Holy Queen of the Holy Rosary, is venerated.

Madonna of the Rosary (with Mysteries of the Rosary) - by Lorenzo Lotto
(1539) Oil on canvas. Church of San Nicolo, Cingoli

The month of October is called the month of the Rosary. This is a "spiritual intonation," so to speak, provided by the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is celebrated on October 7. We are thus invited to let ourselves be guided by Mary in this ancient and ever new prayer, which is especially dear to her because it leads directly to Jesus, contemplated in his mysteries of salvation: joyous, luminous, sorrowful and glorious. In the footsteps of the venerable John Paul II (cf. Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae), I would like to recall that the Rosary is a biblical prayer, completely interwoven with Sacred Scripture. It is a prayer of the heart in which the repetition of the "Hail Mary" orients one's though and affection toward Christ, and thus one confidently supplicates his Mother and ours. It is a prayer that aids meditation on the Word of God and is likened to Eucharistic communion on the model of Mary, who carries in her heart all Jesus did and said and his presence itself.

– from Pope Benedict XVI's Angelus message, October 10, 2010

The Prayers of the Holy Rosary

(Note: The photo at right is arranged illustrate the sequence of beads as used in praying the Rosary.)

The Rosary prayer begins by with the Sign of the Cross (at the Crucifix) followed by reciting the Apostles Creed.

On the round beads say the Our Father, and on the oval beads say the Hail Mary. After each series of Hail Mary's say the Glory Be.

During the prayers on each series of ten beads (decade), we meditate on one of the Mysteries. On the second "Our Father", begin to mediate upon the Mysteries of the Rosary as listed below. End the Rosary with the "Hail Holy Queen".

At the bottom of the photo is shown a ring Rosary, which has ten raised "beads" and a raised cross, used to keep track of the repeated prayers, as are the beads.

Doxology & Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Apostles' Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate;
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
From there He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the Communion of Saints,
the Forgiveness of Sins,
the Resurrection of the body,
and the Life everlasting. Amen.

 

The Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen

Pater noster
Pater noster, qui es in cælis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in caelo et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie,
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem
Sed libera nos a malo. Amen

The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee!
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Ave Maria
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

The Glory Be (Doxology)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and
to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning
is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

Gloria Patri

Glória Patri
et Fílio
et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio,
et nunc et semper
et in sæ´cula sæculórum. Amen.

The Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina)
Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy,
Hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus:
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Salve, Regina

Salve, Regína,
Mater misericórdiæ,
vita, dulcédo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamámus,
éxsules fílii Evæ.
Ad te suspirámus geméntes et flentes
in hac lacrimárum valle.
Eia ergo, advocáta nostra,
illos tuos misericórdes óculos
ad nos convérte.
Et Iesum benedíctum fructum ventris tui,
nobis, post hoc exsílium, osténde.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo María!

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Joyful Mysteries
(Mondays and Saturdays)
1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) [Spiritual fruit - Humility]
2. The Visitation (Luke 1: 39-56) [Spiritual fruit - Love of Neighbor]
3. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20) [Spiritual fruit - Poverty of Spirit]
4. The Presentation (Luke 2:21-38) [Spiritual fruit - Purity of mind & body]
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52) [Spiritual fruit - Obedience ]

The Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light
(Thursdays) see Rosarium Virginis Mariae
1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan (II Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 3:17 and parallels) [Spiritual fruit - Gratitude for the gift of Faith]
2. Jesus' self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana (John 2:1- 12) [Spiritual fruit - Fidelity]
3. Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His call to conversion (Mark 1:15, Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47- 48, John 20:22-23) [Spiritual fruit - Desire for Holiness]
4. Jesus' Transfiguration (Luke 9:35 and parallels) [Spiritual fruit - Spiritual Courage]
5. Jesus' institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery. (Luke 24:13-35 and parallels, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) [Spiritual fruit - Love of our Eucharistic Lord]

The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46) [Spiritual fruit - God's will be done]
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1) [Spiritual fruit - Mortification of the senses]
3. The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:2) [Spiritual fruit - Reign of Christ in our heart]
4. The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17) [Spiritual fruit - Patient bearing of trials]
5. The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:22-39, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:17-37) [Spiritual fruit - Pardoning of Injuries]

The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]

 

Dirck de Bray
Still-Life with Symbols of the Virgin Mary, 1672
Oil on panel, 37 x 31 cm
Amstelkring Museum, Amsterdam

 

Feast of the Holy Rosary

The feast of the Holy Rosary was established by Saint Pius V on the anniversary of the naval victory won by the Christian fleet at Lepanto, October 7, 1571. The victory was attributed to the help of the holy Mother of God whose aid was invoked through praying the rosary. The celebration of this day invites all to mediate upon the mysteries of Christ, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was so singularly associated with the incarnation, passion and glorious resurrection of the Son of God. from the Christian Prayer(Liturgy of the Hours) [Go to Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary page]

Pope John Paul II asks us to pray the Rosary!

On September 30, 2001, after the morning Mass opening the Synod of Bishops, Pope John Paul II asked people to pray the Rosary:

"October is the month in which Mary Most Holy, Queen of the Holy Rosary, is venerated. Within the current international context, I invite all -- individuals, families, communities -- to pray this Marian prayer, possibly every day, for peace, so that the world can be preserved from the wicked scourge of terrorism.

"The terrible tragedy of September 11th will be remembered as a dark day in the history of humanity. In the face of this, the Church tries to be faithful to her prophetic charism and remind all men about their duty to build a future of peace for the human family. Certainly, peace is not separated from justice, but it must be nourished by mercy and love.

"We cannot forget that Jews, Christians and Muslims adore God as the only God. The three religions, therefore, have the vocation of unity and peace. May God allow the Church's faithful to be agents of peace, in the front line of the search for justice and the prohibition of violence.

"May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, intercede for all humanity, so that hate and death never have the last word!"

On September 29, 2002, Pope John Paul II asked that we pray the Rosary for Peace:

JOHN PAUL II
ANGELUS
Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 29 June 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. We are already on the threshold of the month of October, which, with the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, inspires us to rediscover this traditional prayer, so simple yet so profound.

The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ seeing him - we may say - with the eyes of Mary. For this reason, it is a prayer that drawing upon the core of the Gospel is in full accord with the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council and very much in keeping with the direction I gave in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte: the Church has to launch out "into the deep" in the new millennium beginning with the contemplation of the face of Christ.

Therefore, I wish to suggest the recitation of the Rosary to individuals, families and Christian communities. To give force to this invitation, I am preparing a document which will help to rediscover the beauty and depth of this prayer.

2. I wish once again to entrust the great cause of peace to the praying of the Rosary. We are facing an international situation that is full of tensions, at times threatening to explode. In some parts of the world, where the confrontation is harsher - I think particularly of the suffering land of Christ - we can realize that, even though they are necessary, political efforts are worth little if one remains exacerbated in his mind and no one cares to demonstrate a new disposition of heart in the hope of reviving the struggle and effort of dialogue.

Who but God alone can infuse such sentiments? It is more necessary than ever that from every part of the earth prayer for peace be made to Him. In this perspective, the Rosary turns out to be the form of prayer most needed. It builds peace because, while it appeals to the grace of God, it sows in the one praying it the seed of good from which we can expect the fruit of justice and solidarity for personal and community life.

I am thinking of nations and also of families. How much peace would flow into family relationships if the family would begin again to pray the Rosary.

John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Italian.
To the English-speaking

3. I extend a warm greeting to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, and invite you to make the month of October a time of special attention to the recitation of the Rosary, the great prayer of intercession to Mary. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord.

4. The prayer we are about to pray begins by recalling the annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. In fact, today is the feast of the holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. May these powerful ministers of God obtain for us the grace to correspond always with generous love to his will.

Dear Friends, this is the last Angelus of the vacation period. With affection, I greet once again the townsfolk of Castel Gandolfo: Goodbye until next year. Next Sunday, 6 October, God willing, we shall be in St Peter's Square.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/angelus/2002/documents/hf_jp-ii_ang_20020929_en.html

On October 16, 2002, the 25th year of his pontificate, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter on the Rosary (see links above), and declared the beginning of a Year of the Rosary to end in October 2003.


Pope Benedict XVI

Excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI - Angelus Message 10/2/05 ..."The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary, the unique contemplative prayer through which, guided by the Lord's Heavenly Mother, we fix our gaze on the face of the Redeemer in order to be conformed to his joyful, light-filled, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.

This ancient prayer is having a providential revival, thanks also to the example and teaching of the beloved Pope John Paul II. I invite you to reread his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae and to put into practice its directions on the personal, family and community levels.

We entrust the work of the Synod to Mary: may she lead the entire Church to an ever clearer knowledge of the proper mission of service to the Redeemer truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. "


From an address at Sta. Maria Maggiore, May 3, 2008
Complete address on Vatican web site

Today, together we confirm that the Holy Rosary is not a pious practice banished to the past, like prayers of other times thought of with nostalgia. Instead, the Rosary is experiencing a new springtime. Without a doubt, this is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourishes for Jesus and his Mother, Mary. In the current world, so dispersive, this prayer helps to put Christ at the centre, as the Virgin did, who meditated within all that was said about her Son, and also what he did and said. When reciting the Rosary, the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived. The various steps of Christ's mission are traced. With Mary the heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus. Christ is put at the centre of our life, of our time, of our city, through the contemplation and meditation of his holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory. May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries, so that through us we can "water" society, beginning with our daily relationships, and purifying them from so many negative forces, thus opening them to the newness of God. The Rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic way, not mechanical and superficial but profoundly, it brings, in fact, peace and reconciliation. It contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the centre of each "Hail Mary".

-- Pope Benedict XVI


The Rosary -- from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "The Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God', to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs...This special devotion...differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc.

2678 Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours. In the East, the litany called the Akathistos and the Paraclesis remained closer to the choral office in the Byzantine churches, while the Armenian, Coptic, and Syriac traditions preferred popular hymns of St. Ephrem or St Gregory of Narek, the tradition of prayer is basically the same.

2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to mediate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.


Excerpt From the

Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Principles and Guidelines

Click here to go to Vatican web site for complete Directory on Popular Piety .

The Rosary

197. The Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God(234). Thus, "the Roman Pontiffs have repeatedly exhorted the faithful to the frequent recitation of this biblically inspired prayer which is centered on contemplation of the salvific events of Christ's life, and their close association with the his Virgin Mother. The value and efficacy of this prayer have often been attested by saintly Bishops and those advanced in holiness of life" (235).

The Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer, which requires "tranquility of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life" (236). Its use is expressly recommended in the formation and spiritual life of clerics and religious (237).

198. The Blessing for Rosary Beads (238) indicates the Church's esteem for the Rosary. This rite emphasizes the community nature of the Rosary. In the rite, the blessing of rosary beads is followed by the blessing of those who meditate on the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord so as to "establish a perfect harmony between prayer and life" (239).

As indicated in the Benedictionale, Rosary beads can be blessed publicly, on occasions such as a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine, a feast of Our Lady, especially that of the Holy Rosary, and at the end of the month of October (240).

199. With due regard for the nature of the rosary, some suggestions can now be made which could make it more proficuous.

On certain occasions, the recitation of the Rosary could be made more solemn in tone "by introducing those Scriptural passages corresponding with the various mysteries, some parts could be sung, roles could be distributed, and by solemnly opening and closing of prayer" (241).

200. Those who recite a third of the Rosary sometimes assign the various mysteries to particular days: joyful (Monday and Thursday), sorrowful (Tuesday and Friday), glorious (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday).

Where this system is rigidly adhere to, conflict can arise between the content of the mysteries and that of the Liturgy of the day: the recitation of the sorrowful mysteries on Christmas day, should it fall on a Friday. In cases such as this it can be reckoned that "the liturgical character of a given day takes precedence over the usual assignment of a mystery of the Rosary to a given day; the Rosary is such that, on particular days, it can appropriately substitute meditation on a mystery so as to harmonize this pious practice with the liturgical season" (242). Hence, the faithful act correctly when, for example, they contemplate the arrival of the three Kings on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, rather than the finding of Jesus in the Temple. Clearly, such substitutions can only take place after much careful thought, adherence to Sacred Scripture and liturgical propriety.

201. The custom of making an insertion in the recitation of the Hail Mary, which is an ancient one that has not completely disappeared, has often been recommended by the Pastors of the Church since it encourages meditation and the concurrence of mind and lips (243).

Insertions of this nature would appear particularly suitable for the repetitive and meditative character of the Rosary. It takes the form of a relative clause following the name of Jesus and refers to the mystery being contemplated. The meditation of the Rosary can be helped by the choice of a short clause of a Scriptural and Liturgical nature, fixed for every decade.

202. "In recommending the value and beauty of the Rosary to the faithful, care should be taken to avoid discrediting other forms of prayer, or of overlooking the existence of a diversity of other Marian chaplets which have also been approved by the Church" (244). It is also important to avoid inculcating a sense of guilt in those who do not habitually recite the Rosary: "The Rosary is an excellent prayer, in regard to which, however, the faithful should feel free to recite it, in virtue of its inherent beauty" (245).


Family Activity

Pray the Rosary


Related pages: The Rosary - and why we need to pray it... — by Joanna Bogle - Michaelmas 2009

October - Month of the Rosary -- Michaelmas 2011

Pope Benedict XVI — The Rosary: To Make God Visible in the World; To Fix Our Hearts on Jesus -- Michaelmas 2011


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