Our Catholic Faith: The Holy Rosary

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The prayers of the Holy Rosary have come directly from Our Lord Himself, from Inspired Scripture and from the Church. The Holy Rosary is very dear to our Blessed Mother. No form of devotion to Mary is more widely practiced among the faithful or found by them to be more satisfyingly complete than the Rosary, which has come to be regarded as the very badge of Catholic piety.

The Rosary is Christocentric, meaning centered around Christ, setting forth the entire life of Jesus Christ, the passion, death, resurrection and glory. Many Popes have recommended the praying of the Rosary with numerous encyclicals devoted to this subject.

Mary received a great mission from God. Her life is closely linked with the mysteries of the Rosary. She was there to follow Jesus as He lived His life. The mysteries of the Holy Rosary show the cycle of the Liturgical Year. Through meditation on the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous Mysteries we see the life of Christ. These Mysteries serve as a brief summary of the Gospels.

The Rosary has seen powerful effects through the years. Many favors have been granted to those who pray it. History will tell of great triumphs of the Rosary. Today, when great dangers seek to destroy our world, we are encouraged to pray the Rosary. Our Blessed Mother urges us to turn again to the Rosary for help.

Pope Benedict XVI in an address at the Basilica of St. Mary Major where he prayed the rosary with the faithful said:

“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”.

The mysteries of the Rosary have developed through many centuries. In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary. The Pope tells us that these are “the chief mysteries of the Christian religion, the mysteries of our Redemption, the great mysteries of Jesus and His Mother united in joys, sorrows, and triumphs.”

The Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays of Advent:

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity
  4. The Presentation in the Temple
  5. The Finding in the Temple

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Tuesday, Friday, and Sundays of Lent:

  1. The Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
  5. The Crucifixion and Death

The Five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Wednesday and Sundays outside of Lent and Advent:

  1. The Resurrection
  2. The Ascension
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  4. The Assumption
  5. The Coronation of Mary

The Five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:

  1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan
  2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
  3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God
  4. The Transfiguration
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist

The rosary is devotion in honor of the Virgin Mary. It consists of a set number of specific prayers. An explanation of “How to Pray the Rosary” can be found on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website. Please take a look to refresh your memory or to learn for the first time.

In this month of October, let us consider this beautiful prayer of the Rosary as a means that we too can use in order to draw closer to Jesus and Mary by meditating on the great mysteries of our salvation.

Submitted by: Sharon Shipley Zubricky ’76

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