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OCTOBER IS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY ROSARY


Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description."


How To Pray the Rosary:

While the rosary and the indulgences attached to it by the Church essentially concerns the decades and the meditation upon the mysteries only, the following is a customary way of preparing for the rosary and concluding it.


1. Preparation

Start by making the sign of the Cross:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then recite the Apostle's 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; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come 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 life everlasting. Amen.

Then say 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Marys (for the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity) and then 1 Glory Be:

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.



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 death. Amen.

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.


2. The Rosary Proper

The Rosary is essentially the decades and their associated mysteries, and only these must be prayed to "pray the rosary", either in satisfaction of Our Lady's requests, or, to gain the indulgences attached to praying the rosary. 

The traditional Rosary is divided into three parts, each having five mysteries: Glorious, Joyful and Sorrowful. In his apostolic letter The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, Pope John Paul II proposed a new set of mysteries, which he called the Luminous, and which concern the period of the public life of Our Lord. For those who wish to say all 20 decades at once during the course of a day, they may be said in the following order: Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious. 

For those who wish to say only 5 decades per day, the Holy Father proposed the following schedule:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday  Friday Saturday Sunday
Joyful Sorrowful

Glorious

Luminous Sorrowful

Joyful

Glorious

For those who prefer to follow the traditional order of the days it is:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday  Friday Saturday Sunday
Joyful Sorrowful

Glorious

Joyful Sorrowful

Glorious

Glorious

While meditating on the Mysteries, recite:

One Our Father (large beads),  10 Hail Marys (small beads) and  1 Glory Be (before the next large bead) to make a complete decade of the rosary. 

After each decade the Fátima Prayer may also be said (Pope Pius XII).

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.


3. Concluding Prayers

After the completion of five mysteries (5 decades), or 15 or 20, the following is customarily said:

Hail Holy Queen (or Salve Regina may be sung)

Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy, 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 us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

(Verse) Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.  

(Response) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Rosary Prayer

(Verse) Let us pray, 

(Response) O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.



4. For the Intentions of the Holy Father

Catholics who say the rosary in a group, or, individually before the Blessed Sacrament, 
may gain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions, which includes prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.

For the intentions of the Holy Father.

Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be.


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

 



HISTORY OF THE ROSARY

 
Fr. William Saunders
Please explain the history and background of the rosary. Is it true that the Blessed Mother gave it to St. Dominic?

The rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of our Catholic Church. Introduced by the Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Doxology ("Glory Be"), and concluded with the Salve Regina, the rosary involves the recitation of five decades consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and the Doxology. During this recitation, the individual meditates on the saving mysteries of our Lord's life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother.

Journeying through the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the rosary, the individual brings to mind our Lord's incarnation, His passion and death and His resurrection from the dead. In so doing, the rosary assists us in growing in a deeper appreciation of these mysteries, in uniting our life more closely to our Lord and in imploring His graced assistance to live the faith. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, who leads all believers to her Son.

The origins of the rosary are "sketchy" at best. The use of "prayer beads" and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and has roots in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middle Ages that strings of beads were used to count Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Actually, these strings of beads became known as "Paternosters," the Latin for "Our Father."

The structure of the rosary gradually evolved between the 12th and 15th centuries. Eventually 50 Hail Marys were recited and linked with verses of psalms or other phrases evoking the lives of Jesus and Mary. During this time, this prayer form became known as the rosarium ("rose garden"), actually a common term to designate a collection of similar material, such as an anthology of stories on the same subject or theme. During the 16th century, the structure of the five-decade rosary based on the three sets of mysteries prevailed.

Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ. Some scholars take exception to St. Dominic's role in forming the rosary. The earliest accounts of his life do not mention it, the Dominican constitutions do not link him with it and contemporaneous portraits do not include it as a symbol to identify the saint.

In 1922, Dom Louis Cougaud stated, "The various elements which enter into the composition of that Catholic devotion commonly called the rosary are the product of a long and gradual development which began before St. Dominic's time, which continued without his having any share in it, and which only attained its final shape several centuries after his death." However, other scholars would rebut that St. Dominic not so much "invented" the rosary as he preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the faith. Moreover, at least a dozen popes have mentioned St. Dominic's connection with the rosary, sanctioning his role as at least a "pious belief."

The rosary gained greater popularity in the 1500s, when Moslem Turks were ravaging Eastern Europe. Recall that in 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Moslems, leaving the Balkans and Hungary open to conquest. With Moslems raiding even the coast of Italy, the control of the Mediterranean was now at stake.

In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a fleet under the command of Don Juan of Austria the half-brother of King Philip II of Spain. While preparations were underway, the Holy Father asked all of the faithful to say the rosary and implore our Blessed Mother's prayers, under the title Our Lady of Victory, that our Lord would grant victory to the Christians. Although the Moslem fleet outnumbered that of the Christians in both vessels and sailors, the forces were ready to meet in battle. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner depicting Christ crucified. On October 7, 1571, the Moslems were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto. The following year, Pope St. Pius V established the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7, where the faithful would not only remember this victory, but also give thanks to the Lord for all of His benefits and remember the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.

The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description."

Fr. Saunders is president of the Notre Dame Institute and associate pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria.


This article appeared in the October 6, 1994 issue of "The Arlington Catholic Herald." Courtesy of the "Arlington Catholic Herald" diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.


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