Thursday, April 5, 2007


The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, "Rose Garden"), is a traditional popular devotion in the Roman Catholic Church. The term denotes both a set of prayer beads and a system of set prayers to be said as the beads are told. The Rosary combines vocal (or silent) prayer and meditation centered around sequences of reciting the Lord's Prayer followed by ten recitations of the "Hail Mary" prayer and a single recitation of "Glory Be to the Father"; each of these sequences is known as a decade.

Until the recent addition of five additional Mysteries by Pope John Paul II, the Rosary had been prayed in three parts of five Mysteries assigned throughout the week. Today the Rosary can be prayed in four parts, one part each day, with the "Mysteries" (which are meditated or contemplated on during the prayers) being rotated daily.

What distinguishes the Rosary from other forms of prayer is that, along with the vocal prayers, it includes a series of meditations. Each decade of the Rosary is said while meditating on one of the "Mysteries" of redemption. These mysteries originated in the 15th century, and while there has been some disagreement on them (the final mystery is sometimes the Last Judgment) the earliest sets bear a remarkable resemblance to those still used.

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