The Holy Rosary
The rosary (from Latin rosarium, meaning “Crown of Roses”or “garland of roses”) is a Roman Catholic sacramental and Marian devotion to prayer and the commemoration of Jesus and events of his life. The term “Rosary” is used to describe both a sequence of prayers and a string of prayer beads used to count the prayers. The word is sometimes written with an initial capital in a Catholic context.
Throughout centuries, the rosary has been promoted by several popes as part of the veneration of Mary. The rosary also represents the Roman Catholic emphasis on “participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ,” and the Mariological theme “to Christ through Mary,” taught bySaint Louis de Montfort.
The sequence of prayers is the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary ten times, and the Glory Be to the Father, sometimes followed by the Fatima Prayer. Each sequence is known as a decade. Five decades are prayed, after beginning with the Apostle’s Creed and five initial prayers. The praying of each decade is accompanied by meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall the life of Jesus.
The traditional fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary were standardized based on the long-standing custom by Pope Pius V in the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the Joyful mysteries, the Sorrowful mysteries, and the Glorious mysteries. In 2002 Pope John Paul IIannounced a set of five new optional mysteries called the Luminous mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to twenty.