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Frequestly Asked Questions

What is the significance of the name "rosary"?

The name, rosary, was derived from the ancient concept of the word "rosary" which signified a garland of flowers.  This was significant for three reasons:  First, a garland of flowers was often assembled in a circular form similar to the circle of our modern day rosary.  Second, the word garland was known to signify a collection in the Middle Ages.  Finally, garlands of flowers had often been associated with the Belssed Mother.  (Source:  Living the Rosary Today; M. Osiecli; p.9.)

Where does the construction of the rosary come from?

The actual construction of the rosary beads was something passed along for centuries.  Since ancient times, cords with knots, stones, beads or other markers were often used for simple counting devices.  So the ancient monks developed a similar practive to keep trac k of their recitations.  (Source:  Living the Rosary Today; M. Osiecli; p.9.)

What are the parts of the rosary?

A rosary consists of five groupings of 10 "Hail Mary" beads known as a decade.  In between each decade is a single "Our Father" bead.  The centerpiece connects the decades and the lower part of the rosary sometimes called the "tail".  Below the centerpiece, the tail is a series of two Our Father beads surrounding 3 Hail Mary beads.  At the end of the tail is the crucifix.  (Source:  Living the Rosary Today; M. Osiecli; p.9.)

What change did Pope John Paul II make to the rosary?

In 2002, Pope John Paul II announced a significant change to our practice of the rosary.  He introduced a new set of five mysteries bringing the total to 20.  The Mysteries of Light (also known as the Luminous Mysteries) are signficant because they deal with Christ's adult life and teachings.  Therefore, the name "Light" is significant because it informs us that these mysteries are about Jesus revealing his identity and saving mission to us during his public ministry.  (Source:  Living the Rosary Today; M. Osiecli; p.9.)

What is a Rosary Novena?

A novena is a traditional Catholic devotion consisting of a prayer repeated on nine consecutive occasions asking to obtain special graces. This novena is offered as a sacrifice to God because it is a sign of devotion.  These nine occasions can consist of nine straight hours, or nine straight days.

During a Rosary novena, the rosary is prayed on nine consecutive days.  On the first and fifth day, the Joyful Mysteries are prayed.  On the second and sixth days, the Luminous Mysteries are prayed.  On the third and seventh days, the Sorrowful Mysteries are prayed.  On the fourth, eighth and nineth days, the Glorious Mysteries are prayed.

The practice of saying novenas is derived from Scripture. After Jesus' Ascension into heaven, He told his disciples to pray together in the upper room and devote themselves to constant prayer (Acts 1:14). Doctrine proposes that the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and other followers of Jesus prayed together for nine consecutive days, concluding in the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.