The Rosary is a circlet of beads with a pendant tail. The circlet has fifty beads in groups of ten, called a decade, with a single bead between each group. The tail is joined to the circlet by a small medal and at the end of the tail is a crucifix. Between the medal and the crucifix there is a single bead then a group of three beads and then another single bead.
The beads are passed through the fingers and a repeated sequence of prayers are said. The prayers are usually the 'Our Father', the 'Hail Mary' and the 'Glory Be'.
For a complete reciting of the Rosary one of the four sets of Mysteries is chosen for devotional meditation. The four groups of Mysteries are each made up of five parts:
1. The Joyful Mysteries: a. The Annunciation, b. The Visitation, c. The Nativity, d. The Presentation, e. The Finding in the Temple.
2. The Luminous Mysteries: a. The Baptism of our Lord, b. The Self-Manifestation at the Wedding at Cana, c. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God & the Call to Conversion, d. The Transfiguration, e. The Institution of the Eucharist.
3. The Sorrowful Mysteries: a The Agony in the Garden, b. The Scourging at the Pillar, c. The Crowning with Thorns, d. The Carrying of the Cross, e. The Crucifixion.
4. The Glorious Mysteries: a. The Resurrection, b. The Ascension, c. The Descent of the Holy Spirit, d. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, e. The Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven.
Using these meditations we are able to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and with Mary to contemplate the life and mysteries of her Son.
There are many ways of praying with the Rosary.
This is the basic method:
1. Hold the Crucifix in the right hand, bless yourself, making the sign of the cross and saying 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen'. Then kiss the Crucifix and say the Apostles Creed.
2. On the first bead pray the 'Our Father .... '
3. On the next group of three beads say the 'Hail Mary .... ' on each.
4. On the space between these three beads and the next single bead say the' Glory Be .... '
5. On the next bead name the group of Mysteries to be contemplated and read the meditation for the first of that group of Mysteries. Then say the 'Our Father .... '
6. Moving to the beads on the circlet say ten 'Hail Marys .... ' on the first group while meditating on the named Mystery.
7. On the space between that group of beads and the next single bead say the 'Glory Be .... '
8. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 for the next four decades of beads on the circlet of the Rosary taking•each of the four remaining Mysteries of the group chosen, in turn.
9. Returning now to the medal by the tail pray the Hail Holy Queen and any final prayers. Then taking the Crucifix bless and cross yourself and finish by kissing it.
Pope John Paul II said 'The Rosary is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation, which began in her virginal womb.'
Pope Benedict XVI said 'The Rosary contributes in a privileged way to prolong communion with Christ, and it educates us to live keeping our hearts' gaze fixed upon him to radiate on every one and everything his merciful love. '
If you would be interested in joining a group to explore and practise the use of the Rosary please speak to Father Michael or Roger.