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The word rosary comes from the Latin word rosarius which means crown of roses. It is a form of prayer arranged to give a litany of praise to God and to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in a special way.

Physically, a complete rosary consists of a series of 150 beads divided into 15 groups or decades of ten beads each. Decades are usually separated from each other by one larger bead and connected to form a continuous loop. Attached to extending from this loop or string are five other beads, two large and three small, and a crucifix. Most rosaries today consist of five decades, one-third of an entire rosary.

Certain prayers are said at each bead of a rosary, a Hail Mary on each small bead, an Our Father on each large bead, and a Glory Be and O My Jesus prayer following each decade. The 15 decades are further divided into three groups of five, each group dedicated to a set of five important New Testament events called respectively the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries. During the rosary, each mystery is first announced, then pondered (contemplated) for a few moments before the recitation of a decade of Hail Marys.

Another tool used by the faithful in praying the rosary is to meditate on some aspect of a rosary mystery at each bead, before each Hail Mary. Certain meditations in this book follow such a format, with many of them coming through the receiver Rita directly from Jesus and Mary.

The fifteen mysteries of the rosary celebrate important events in the New Testament, events which define great truths of our Christian faith. In the rosary, they are arranged in groups as shown below. For those who pray a five-decade rosary each day, the traditional order for praying the mysteries by day of the week is also shown.

Said on Mondays and Thursdays and on Sundays from the First Sunday of Advent until Lent

  1. The Annunciation to Mary
  2. The Visitation of Mary
  3. The Nativity of Our Lord
  4. The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Said on Tuesdays and Fridays and on the Sundays of Lent

  1. The Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
  5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord on the Cross

Said on Wednesdays and Saturdays and on Sundays from Easter to Advent

  1. The Resurrection of Our Lord
  2. The Ascension of Our Lord
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and Mary
  4. The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
  5. The Crowning of Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth

Organization of the Rosary

Strictly speaking, a rosary is a litany of Aves, wave after wave, decades, of Hail Marys directed at Our Lady, begging her intercession on our behalf with God the Father, her Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. However, the rosary format shown here has been the accepted standard for hundreds of years, with the exception of the O My Jesus, or Fatima, prayer which has been added in this century. Most of the individual prayers are ancient indeed, reflecting the glory of the Church from as far back as Our Lord (the Our Father), the Gospels (the Hail Mary) and the Middle Ages (the Holy Mary). Truly a revered and comfortable prayer!

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