Many of us would recall from our childhoods, family members clasping their rosary beads and sitting quietly in prayer each day. We may even own a set or two ourselves (some being precious family heirlooms).
The Rosary is primarily a scriptural prayer. This was summarised by Pope Pius XII (papacy: 1939- 1958) who said that the Rosary is “a compendium of the entire Gospel” (AAS 38  p. 419). The Rosary draws its mysteries from the New Testament and is centred on the great events of the Incarnation and Redemption.
Rosary beads are used to keep count of the prayers and mysteries of the rosary. We begin by making the sign of the cross and saying the Apostles Creed on the crucifix, one Our Father on the First bead, three Hail Marys on the next three beads, and then a Glory Be to the Father. When finished pause, and think about the first mystery, say an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be. The first decade is now completed. Then repeat this pattern until all five decades have been said. When saying each decade of the rosary we think about the events in the lives of Jesus and Mary, these are known as the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. At the end of the Rosary the prayer known as the Hail, Holy Queen may be prayed while holding the medal that joins the crucifix extension to the loop of the rosary beads. Finish with the sign of the cross.
In this month of October, let us consider the beautiful prayer of the Rosary as a means that we too can use to draw closer to God by meditating on the great mysteries of our salvation and pray for peace in our world.
Contributed by Vanessa Denham, Pastoral and Liturgical Ministries Coordinator