The Holy Rosary


Parish Priest: Fr Martin Kelly


St Mary's RC Church,
Gibbet Street,
West Yorkshire,

Tel: 01422 352141

St Alban's RC Church,
Huddersfield Road,
West Yorkshire,

Tel: 01422 352141

October is a month dedicated in a special way to the praying of the Holy Rosary. In church every weekday morning before Mass the Rosary is recited publicly, and in our own homes we are encouraged to make use of this very traditional Catholic devotion. But what is the Rosary? Why is it so important? How should I pray it, and why?

Suddenly the Rosary is very familiar to us. We see it, or something like it, hanging round the necks of countless teenagers. Its circle of beads divided up into sections and ending in a crucufix are a common accessory in the early twenty first century. But of course, for Catholics, the rosary is not just an item of jewellery. It is a tool which we use in order to help us to pray. Each bead represents a prayer, each division of the beads a different prayerful thought. The rosary circlet represents for us one of the most venerable and highly esteemed ways of communicating with God.

The rosary is a succession of Our Fathers and Hail Marys and Glory Bes recited in memory of various mysteries of the Catholic Faith. For each mystery one Our Father, Ten Hail Marys and one Glory Be are said. Originally, the mysteries were divided into five Joyful, five Sorrowful and five glorious sets, or “decades”, so-called in honour of the ten Hail Marys. The resulting total of one hundred and fifty Hail Marys was a reflection of the one hundred and fifty psalms in the Old Testament,which form the heart of the Church’s official prayer, the Divine Office. In the year 2002, however, the late Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II, added a further five mysteries to the rosary, the mysteries of light.

The Mysteries of the rosary are now as follows:

Joyful Msteries
1. The Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Our Blessed Lady
2. The Visitation of Our Lady to her kinswoman St Elizabeth
3. The Birth of Our Saviour in the Stable of Bethlehem
4. The Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem
5. The Finding of the Child Jesus disputing with the elders.

Sorrowful Mysteries

1. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday
2. The Scourging at the Pillar ordered by Pontius Pilate
3. The Crowning With Thorns carried out by the Roman Soldiers
4. The Carrying of His Cross to the Place of Execution
5. The Death of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary

Glorious Mysteries

1. The Resurrection of Our Lord from the Dead on Easter Sunday
2. The Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day
4. The Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven
5. The Coronation of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven, and the Glory of all the Saints

Mysteries of Light

1. The Baptism of Our Lord in the River Jordan
2. The Wedding of Cana, and the miracle of changing Water into Wine
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the Call to Repentance
4. The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Thabor
5. The Institution of the Most Holy Sacrament of the ALtar

As we recite the Rosary we meditate on the great mysteries of our faith. The rosary is, in fact, a sort of compendium of prayer. With our lips we recite the words of the most venerable prayers, and praise God and petition him for our general needs (Vocal Prayer). In our minds we contemplate the mysteries of salvation and the persons of the Son of God and His Mother who are revealed in them. (Mental Prayer)