La Visione di San Domenico (The Vision of Saint Dominic), Bernardo Cavallino, 1640

The Holy Rosary (i/; Latin: rosarium, in the sense of "crown of roses" or "garland of roses"),[1] also known as the Dominican Rosary,[2][3] refers to a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. When used for the prayer, the word is usually capitalized ("the Rosary"), as is customary for other names of prayers, such as "the Lord's Prayer", and "the Hail Mary"; when referring to the beads, it is written with a lower-case initial letter ("a rosary").

The prayers that comprise the Rosary are arranged in sets of ten Hail Marys, called decades. Each decade is preceded by one Lord's Prayer and followed by one Glory Be. During recitation of each set, thought is given to one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Five decades are recited per rosary. Other prayers are sometimes added before or after each decade. Rosary beads are an aid towards saying these prayers in the proper sequence.

A standard 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, based on the long-standing custom, was established by Pope Pius V during the 16th century, grouping the mysteries in three sets: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. During 2002 Pope John Paul II said that it is fitting that a new set of five be added, termed the Luminous Mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to 20. The Glorious mysteries are said on Sunday and Wednesday, the Joyful on Monday and Saturday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, and the Luminous Mysteries are said on Thursday. Usually five decades are recited in a session.

For more than four centuries, the rosary has been promoted by several popes as part of the veneration of Mary in Roman Catholicism,[4] and consisting essentially in meditation on the life of Christ.[5] The rosary also represents the Roman Catholic emphasis on "participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ", and the Mariological theme "to Christ through Mary."[6]

Theological significance

A traditional five decade rosary in sterling silver.
An Egyptian, Coptic-style rosary featuring an extra Coptic crucifix.

During the 16th century, Pope Pius V associated the rosary with the General Roman Calendar by instituting the Feast of Our Lady of Victory (later changed to Our Lady of the Rosary), which is celebrated on 7 October.

Pope Leo XIII, known as "The Rosary Pope," issued twelve encyclicals and five apostolic letters concerning the rosary and added the invocation Queen of the most Holy Rosary to the Litany of Loreto. Pope Pius XII and his successors actively promoted veneration of the Virgin in Lourdes and Fatima, which is credited with a new resurgence of the rosary within the Catholic Church.[7] Pope John Paul II issued the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae which emphasized the Christocentric nature of the Rosary as a meditation on the life of Christ.[8]

Pope John XXIII deemed the rosary of such importance that on April 28, 1962, in an apostolic letter he appealed for the recitation of the Rosary in preparation for the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.[9]

During 2002, Pope John Paul II said: “Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as by the hands of the Mother of the Redeemer." [8]

On 3 May 2008, Pope Benedict XVI stated that the Rosary was experiencing a new springtime: "It is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother."[10] To Benedict XVI, the rosary is a meditation on all the important moments of salvation history.

The Congregation for Divine Worship's directory of popular piety and the liturgy emphasizes the Christian meditation/meditative aspects of the rosary, and states that the Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer which requires "tranquility of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life."[11] The Congregation for Divine Worship points out the role the Rosary can have as a formative component of spiritual life.

The theologian Romano Guardini described the Roman Catholic emphasis on the rosary as "participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ."[7] This opinion was expressed earlier by Leo XIII who considered the rosary as way to accompany Mary in her contemplation of Christ.[12]

Devotions and spirituality

Devotion to the rosary is one of the most notable features of popular Catholic spirituality.[13] Pope John Paul II placed the rosary at the very center of Christian spirituality and called it "among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation."[14][8]

Catholics believe the Rosary is a remedy against severe trials, temptations and the hardships of life, and that the Rosary is one of the great weapons given to believers in their battle against every evil. [15]

Saints and popes have emphasized the meditative and contemplative elements of the rosary and provided specific teachings for how the rosary should be prayed, for instance the need for "focus, respect, reverence and purity of intention" during rosary recitations and contemplations.[16]

From the sixteenth century onwards, rosary recitations often involved "picture texts" that assisted meditation. Such imagery continues to be used to depict the mysteries of the rosary. Catholic saints have stressed the importance of meditation and contemplation. Scriptural meditations concerning the rosary are based on the Christian tradition of Lectio Divina, (literally divine reading) as a way of using the Gospel to start a conversation between the person and Christ. Padre Pio, a rosary devotee, said: "Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him."[17]

References to the rosary have been part of a number of reported Marian Apparitions spanning two centuries. The reported messages from these apparitions have influenced the spread of rosary devotion worldwide.[18][19] In Quamquam pluries Pope Leo XIII related rosary devotions to Saint Joseph and granted indulgences for adding a prayer to St. Joseph to the Rosary during the month of October.[20]

Praying the Rosary may be prescribed by priests as a type of penance after confession. (Penance is not generally intended as a "punishment"; rather, it is meant to encourage meditation upon and spiritual growth from past sins.[21])

Other Languages
العربية: مسبحة وردية
Avañe'ẽ: Ñembo'esyrỹi
বাংলা: তসবীহ্‌
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ружанец
català: Rosari
Cebuano: Rosaryo
čeština: Růženec
Cymraeg: Llaswyr
Deutsch: Rosenkranz
dolnoserbski: Paśerc
Ελληνικά: Ροζάριο
Esperanto: Rozario
euskara: Arrosario
français: Rosaire
Gàidhlig: Paidirean
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: रूजाय सायबिणिचो तेर्स
한국어: 묵주
հայերեն: Վարդարան
hrvatski: Krunica
Ido: Rozario
Bahasa Indonesia: Doa Rosario
Interlingue: Rosarium
italiano: Rosario
ಕನ್ನಡ: ರೋಸರಿ
Kiswahili: Rozari
latviešu: Rožukronis
lietuvių: Rožinys
Limburgs: Roazekrans
Lingua Franca Nova: Rosario
മലയാളം: കൊന്ത
Nederlands: Rozenkrans
Nedersaksies: Rozenkrans
日本語: ロザリオ
Napulitano: Cemmeraglia
norsk: Rosenkrans
norsk nynorsk: Rosenkrans
polski: Różaniec
português: Santo Rosário
română: Rozariu
Runa Simi: Rusaryu
русиньскый: Ружанець
русский: Розарий
sardu: Arrosàriu
shqip: Rruzarja
sicilianu: Rosariu
Simple English: Rosary
slovenčina: Ruženec (modlitba)
slovenščina: Rožni venec
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Krunica (molitva)
suomi: Ruusukko
svenska: Rosenkransen
Tagalog: Rosaryo
українська: Розарій
Tiếng Việt: Kinh Mân Côi
吴语: 玫瑰经
žemaitėška: Rožončios
中文: 玫瑰经