Rosary | What You Need to Know
The Rosary is one of the most widespread devotional practices in the Catholic world, and has been more often encouraged and recommended by popes through the ages than any other devotion save the Mass itself. Strongly associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and relying on the power of her intercession with her Divine Son, the Rosary makes use of a simple string of beads to engage the body, mind and heart in a series of Scriptural prayers while meditating on the mysteries of our salvation.
If you are new to Catholicism, you'll want to start by learning what the Rosary is and how it is said. We've written a special brief document for this purpose, including step-by-step instructions, the texts of all the prayers, and a listing of the mysteries for meditation and their associated virtues or fruits. Traditionally, the mysteries have been divided into three sets of five each (Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious), with one set chosen for each recitation of the Rosary.
Next, you may be interested in the history of this magnificent and powerful prayer, which has been a key to holiness for so many individuals and families. The Rosary's history goes back at least a thousand years, and its individual prayers go back two thousand. The Rosary began as a way of marking the praying of the 150 psalms. It was gradually associated with Mary and eventually developed into the Church's foremost Marian devotion.
Finally, following the practice of many popes, John Paul II issued an apostolic letter on the Rosary in 2002. In it he went a step further than his predecessors, introducing a new set of mysteries for meditation. His letter thus provides not only encouragement and instruction concerning the Rosary, but a guide to the meditation on the new Luminous Mysteries, which emphasize the events of Christ's public life.
- How to Pray the Rosary
- The History of the Rosary
- On the Most Holy Rosary (including the Luminous Mysteries)