October is the month dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary!
One of the most popular devotions ever conceived in the Church has to be the Most Holy Rosary. Developed relatively early in the Church and promoted by various saints including St. Louis de Montfort and St. Dominic, it gives devotees a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to Our Lady. In fact, Our Lady appeared to children in Fatima (an apparition that resulted in another name for Mary– Our Lady of Fatima) to advise praying the rosary every day.
For those unfamiliar, the rosary is a set of beads strung together in a circle, with an extra set of beads dangling down with a cross at the end. The prayers used include O, My Jesus; Hail Mary; Our Father; Glory Be; Apostle’s Creed; and Hail Holy Queen. Each rosary entails 5 decades of Hail Mary’s in which the person is to reflect on a particular mystery of our faith relating to Jesus or Our Lady.
The mysteries of the Rosary are divided into four categories, three original (Sorrowful, Joyful, Glorious) and one added in 2002 by Pope John Paul II (the Luminous mysteries). When praying the Rosary, typically one category is chosen for reflection during that Rosary.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scouring at the Pillar
- The Crowning with Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity
- The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of Mary
- The Coronation of the Virgin
- The Baptism of Jesus
- The Wedding at Cana
- Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
- The Transfiguration
- The Instititution of the Eucharist
How to Pray the Most Holy Rosary
There is a suggested order for when to pray different sets of mysteries, though it is merely a suggestion, not a requirement. The suggested allocation is:
A versatile type of devotion, the rosary can be prayed by focusing on singular sets of mysteries, or can be prayed with all 15-20 mysteries by adding together all the decades. It is common to add some form of prayer intention, and you can even do a shortened 1-decade prayer.
Praying the rosary can feel really daunting because of the large number of prayers. But it is good to keep in mind that you do not have to pray it all at once. In fact, you do not even have to remember all the prayer sequence or mysteries to get started! You could have a printout and a physical rosary, or you could use a cell phone app such as Laudate (available for both Android and Apple users), which has an interactive rosary feature allowing you to select the set of mysteries to focus on (it also lets you know which is typically prayed that day of the week), and you tap the bead as you go along. If you don’t know the prayer, or want a reflection on the given mystery, you can tap the prayer next to the labeled bead image and it will provide that for you. There are also a variety of apps that will pray the rosary aloud for you to follow along. EWTN has a televised rosary as well.
Any way that you choose to pray the Most Holy Rosary, I hope you benefit from the wonderful meditation reflection it provides!
There are tons of crafts and coloring pages available to illustrate and teach the rosary to children. Here is a wonderful one from Catholic Icing.