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1. The Holy Scriptures reveal to us that after the Blessed Virgin Mary had visited her cousin Elizabeth, she recited the Magnificat. One prophetic verse in that prayer still echoes today, "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed." [Lk. 1:48] (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 971) The Holy Rosary fulfills the prophecy of those words, that the blessed Virgin Mary shall be called blessed today as much as she was called blessed in the days that followed the glorious birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. "Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her. (C.C.C. # 2682)

3. Contrary to the belief of many of our separated brothers and sisters, when Catholics pray the Holy Rosary, they do not pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the same way as when they pray to God. Seeking the intercession of the Virgin Mary through the Marian Sacramental of the Holy Rosary, they pray to God through Mary.


4. The Catholic Church officially recognizes three Marian Sacramentals, these being the Holy Rosary, the Brown Scapular and the Miraculous Medal. (C.C.C. # 1674)

5. Of all the different kinds of Marian devotions, endless Catholic Church prayers, litanies and Novenas, the Holy Rosary is the most popular on earth.

6. The Church Sacramental of the Rosary (C.C.C. # 1674), recited daily throughout the world, brings back to memory thousands and thousands of times the words of the angel of God, "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you." [Lk. 1:28]


7. Considering the immense treasure of spiritual good that is found in the recitation of the Holy Rosary, how is it associated with Our Lady of the Rosary? When and where did the Rosary have its beginning?

8. Tradition teaches us that the Feast of the Holy Rosary had its beginning when the Albigensian heresy was destroying the country of Toulouse. Shortly after September 12, 1213, St. Dominic turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary for the triumph of Catholic arms. As St. Dominic was kneeling before the Sacred Altar in the Church of St. Jacques, Our Lady appeared to him and instructed him to preach the Rosary among the people as a cure for heresy and sin.

9. In thanksgiving to Our Lady for the miraculous victory that followed, it is asserted that the crusaders erected a chapel in the Church of St. Jacques and dedicated it to Our Lady of the Rosary. Based on this tradition, it appears that the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary had its origin in those days.

10. Over and above the defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213, it is believed that the grace of God frequently shined upon the world through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.

11. At the same time, historical documents have not been able to accredit St. Dominic with the origin of the Rosary. The earliest trace of any Church documents alleges that it was a Dominican preacher, Alan de la Roche, who created the legend of St. Dominic in the fifteenth century.

12. Further research has proven that the Rosary was in existence prior to the days of St. Dominic. In those earlier days, its existence was patterned on the Book of Psalms. Originally, possibly as far back as the eight century, the Lord's Prayer was recited 150 times by religious communities. Those who were devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary replaced the Lord's Prayer with the first part of today's Hail Mary, reciting 150 Hail Mary's on beads strung on a cord.

13. During the fifteen century, the Rosary was divided into three Chaplets of 50 Hail Marys each, at which time five mysteries were added to each Chaplet. By the sixteen century, the fifteen mysteries had become accepted by all as the proper way of reciting the Rosary. During that period of time, the second half of the Hail Mary was added and the "Glory be to the Father" was used to close each decade of the Rosary. In 1569, Pope Pius V officially approved the Rosary as it was known throughout the world.

14. Four years later, Pope Pius V established the Feast of the Rosary in thanksgiving to Our Lady to commemorate the naval victory of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. On that same day, the first Sunday of October, Don John of Austria defeated the Turkish fleet while the members of the Rosary confraternity made their procession in Rome.

15. Following the request of the Dominican Order, in 1573, Pope Gregory XIII allowed this feast to be observed in all the Churches that possessed an Altar dedicated to the Holy Rosary. In 1671, Pope Clement X extended the observance of this feast to the whole of Spain. Afterwards, in recognition of the victory over the Turks by Prince Eugene on August 6, 1716, at Peterwardein in Hungary, Pope Clement XI commanded that the Feast of the Rosary be celebrated throughout the world.

16. Other popes, namely Benedict XIII and Leo XIII, were involved in raising the Feast to the rank of a double of the second class and added the Litany of Loreto to the invocation of "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary."

17. Although the history of the Rosary is controversial, over the centuries, different Supreme Pontiffs, in their apostolic letters, have accredited St. Dominic with the origin of the Rosary. In 1883, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical in which he commended to the faithful the devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary, attributing its origin to St. Dominic.

18. Keeping all this in mind, it was not until Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children on May 13, 1917 that she revealed herself to be Our Lady of the Rosary. Recognizing the apparitions of Fatima as being worthy of belief, on October 13, 1930, the bishop of Fatima authorized devotion to Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima.

19. On October 16, 2002, following the release of the Apostolic Letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" by the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II to the Bishops, Clergy and faithful, 5 new mysteries were added to the Holy Rosary. Accordingly, the present Rosary now consist of 200 Hail Mary's on beads strung on a cord which represents 4 Chaplets of 5 mysteries each for a new total of 20 mysteries.

20. The "Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary" is closely associated with the titles of "Our Lady of Fatima" and the "Immaculate Heart of Mary." In summary, it began as a most beautiful spiritual prayer in recognition of the salutation of the angel of God to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

21. Then, it progressed to meditating upon the lives of Jesus and Mary, each mystery requiring reflection upon a biblical passage or an inspired truths that the Church has proclaimed as a Dogma of faith. Such truths consists of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.

22. While reflecting upon the mysteries continues to be the norm of the faithful, now, based on the apparition of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, additional emphasis has been placed on repentance, praying for sinners and doing penance. Through this spiritual devotion, the Holy Rosary, Our Lady assures the world that evil shall be overcomed and that there will be a time of peace.

23. More specifically, in 1917, while communism was not so apparent, Our Lady asked that the faithful pray for the conversion of Russia and that Russia be consecrated to her. If such was done, communism would fall and Russia would be converted.

24. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary echoes the words of Job that are found in the Book of Job. "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." It has now become obvious to the world that the Lord God has eternal plans for the Blessed Virgin Mary and that He has commissioned her as the Second Eve to assist her Son in the salvation of mankind by bringing sinners to Jesus.

25. In the Book of Job, we read that "The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning." Equally, it can be said about the Virgin Mary. The Lord has indeed blessed the latter days of Mary more than her beginning. Progressively, over a period of possibly one thousand years, the fulness of the devotion to the Holy Rosary was not fully revealed to the world until 1917 when Our Lady stated, I am "Our Lady of the Rosary." If we are to measure the countless progressive honours that the Blessed Virgin Mary has received since she has departed from this world, can we begin to imagine what honours awaits her in the days to come?


26. When you pray the Holy Rosary, you begin by holding the beads between your thumb and index finger of either hand while moving along.

27. You start the Holy Rosary by making the sign of the Cross while holding the Cross between your fingers. The prayer to say is:

"In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.


28. When you say "In the Name of the Father," you touch your forehead with the Cross. When you say "and in the Son," you touch your stomach. When you say "and of the Holy Spirit," you first touch your left shoulder and then your right shoulder with the Cross. When all of that is done, you say "Amen." Some Catholics kiss the Cross of the Rosary whenever they make the Sign of the Cross.

29. While still holding the Cross between your fingers, you say the "Apostle's Creed."

"I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
of God the Father Almighty.
He will come again
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.


30. Below the Cross, you have 5 beads as follows:

Cross - O --- O - O - O --- O - Medal ("O" means a bead.)

31. Beginning with the first bead next to the Cross, you say the "Our Father."

"Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day,
our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.


32. On each of the next three beads, you say the "Hail Mary." When saying these three "Hail Marys," you pray for the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. (One virtue per Hail Mary.)

"Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.


33. On the last bead between the 3 "Hail Marys" and the medal, you say the "Glory Be" as follows:

"Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now,
and ever shall be,
world without end.


34. The Holy Rosary breakdown is as follows. It has 20 decades. Each decade consist of 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and 1 Glory Be.

35. To pray an entire Rosary, you must pray

- 20 times the "Our Father,"
- 20 times the 10 "Hail Mary's" and
- 20 times the "Glory Be" in that order.

36. The Rosary is divided into 4 parts of 5 decades each. Each of the four parts are called a Chaplet.

37. When you will have prayed an entire Chaplet, you will have said:

- 5 times the "Our Father,"
- 5 times the 10 "Hail Mary's" and
- 5 times "Glory Be" in that order.

38. Most Catholics who are committed to this Marian devotion, they limit themselves to one Chaplet per day. The praying of one Chaplet per day requires from 15 to 20 minutes.


39. As a Catholic devotion, the Rosary involves meditating on the twenty mysteries surrounding the lives of Our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin mary. The Rosary engages our thoughts, our imagination, our emotions, and our desire. This serves the purpose of mobilizing our faculties in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompting a conversion of heart and a strengthening of our will to follow Christ. (C.C.C. # 2708)

40. While praying a decade, you reflect on a mystery. There are specific mysteries for each day of the week. For example, when praying the Holy Rosary on a Monday or Saturday, you meditate on the Joyful Mysteries.

41. During the recitation of first decade, you meditate on the Annunciation of Mary. During the recitation of the second decade, you meditate on the Visitation. During the recitation of the third decade, you meditate on the Nativity of Jesus, etc...

The following is a list of all the Mysteries.

42. Joyful Mysteries - Monday and Saturday:

42.1. The Annunciation (Lk. 1:28) For humility.
42.2. The Visitation (Lk. 1:41-2) For charity.
42.3. The Nativity (Lk. 2:7) For poverty.
42.4. The Presentation (Lk. 2:22) For obedience.
42.5. The Finding in the Temple (Lk. 2:46) For piety.

43. Sorrowful Mysteries - Tuesday and Friday:

43.1. The Agony in the Garden (Lk. 22:44-45) For contrition.
43.2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Jn. 19:1) For purity.
43.3. The Crowning with Thorns (Mt. 27:28-29) For courage.
43.4. The Carrying of the Cross (Jn. 19:17) For patience.
43.5. The Crucifixion (Lk. 23:46) For self-denial.

44. Glorious Mysteries - Wednesday and Sunday:

44.1. The Resurrection (Mk. 16:6) For faith.
44.2. The Ascension (Mk. 16:19) For hope.
44.3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2) For love.
44.4. The Assumption (Judith 15:10-11) For eternal happiness.
44.5. The Crowning of Mary (Apoc. 12:1) For devotion to Mary.

45. Luminous Mysteries - Thursday:

45.1. The Baptism in the Jordan (Mt. 3:16-17) For submission to God.
45.2. The wedding of Cana (Jn. 2:4-6) For trust in God.
45.3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Mk. 1:14-15) Commissioned by God to evangelize.
45.4. The Transfiguration (Lk. 9:29) For Divine knowledge.
45.5. The institution of the Eucharist (Lk. 22:19-20) For intimate Communion with God.


46. After the completion of each decade, you say the "Fatima Prayer":

"O my Jesus,
forgive us our sins,
save us from the fire of hell,
lead all souls to heaven,
especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy."


47. After the completion of one Chaplet (5 decades which represents 5 mysteries), you pray the "Hail Holy Queen" prayer.

"Hail, holy Queen,
mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness,
and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs mourning
and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us.
and after this our exile
show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."


48. You conclude the Rosary by doing the Sign of the Cross.

"In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.


(You may wish to kiss the Cross of your Holy Rosary.) CONCLUSION

49. Worldwide, there are approximately three hundred different kinds of devotional Chaplets. None of these are intended to replace, nor should they be used to replace the Marian Rosary that has been recognized by the Holy Catholic Church for centuries. This is the only Rosary that has proven itself endless times as a powerful intercessory tool on behalf of mankind. No other Chaplets has ever been blessed with such a grace.

50. Those who have adopted the devotion of the Holy Rosary, they have grown in a special relationship with the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Having achieved this, they have consequently grown closer to Jesus. Through Mary, they have come to know Jesus in a very special way.


This completes the beautiful course "The Holy Rosary." The Catholic Doors Ministry believes that this Marian Sacramental will enrich your spiritual life.

You are encouraged to continue in your personal studies so that you may continue to grow in the knowledge of the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church.

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