The Holy Rosary is a tool that helps us to pray. It’s made up of a string of about 60 beads (or knots), with each bead representing a particular prayer to be said. But it is so much more than the sum of these prayer! It is a way of reflecting deeply on 20 Mysteries surrounding Jesus.
Pope after Pope has encouraged people to pray the Rosary. Pope John Paul II said that the Holy Rosary was "among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation".
In her appearances to people, the Virgin Mary, our Blessed Mother, has frequently delivered messages urging people to pray – and keep praying – the Holy Rosary. (For instance, Fatima in Portugal, 1917; Betania in Venezuela in 1976; Cuapa in Nicaragua, 1980; Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1980 to the present day – to name but a few).
Our Blessed Mother has encouraged us to pray the Rosary as a form of protection. She has asked us to pray the Rosary to create peace in our families, societies and nations. She’s asked us to pray the Rosary for the conversion of sinners, so that they, too, can experience the abundant life in Christ. Sometimes she has pleaded with us to pray the Rosary – with tears in her eyes!
There are twenty Mysteries to reflect on when praying the Holy Rosary; together, they make up the life of Jesus. The Mysteries are re-arranged into four groups of five: the Joyful Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries.
The tradition in the Church is to pray one of the four sets of mysteries of the Rosary, per day. The traditional days are as follows:
Mondays and Saturdays: the Joyful Mysteries
Tuesday and Fridays: the Sorrowful Mysteries
Wednesdays and Sundays: the Glorious Mysteries
Thursdays: the Luminous Mysteries
How to Say the Rosary:
The Rosary begins with the ‘Sign of the Cross’, the ‘Apostles’ Creed’, one ‘Our Father’, three ‘Hail Marys’, followed by one ‘Glory be to the Father’.
The prayer then moves on to meditating on the first Mystery within the group for that day. Whilst continuing to reflect and ponder the Mystery, you pray one ‘Our Father’, followed by ten ‘Hail Marys’. After saying the ‘decade’, you finish with another ‘Glory be to the Father’, followed by the prayer requested by Our Lady of Fatima: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”
You then introduce the second Mystery, before embarking on the second decade, and so on.
At the end of all five decades, you finish with a ‘Hail, Holy Queen’, with an optional closing prayer, before making the ‘Sign of the Cross’.
If you would like more detailed help to you get started with praying the Holy Rosary, please click here:
If you would like to join a Rosary group at St Marie’s, please contact the PPC on PPC@stmariecathedral.org, who will be happy to tell you what opportunities are currently on offer.