Rosary (Wikipedia)The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, meaning "rose garden") or "garland of roses" is a popular and traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary. The prayers consist of repeated sequences of the Lord's Prayer followed by ten prayings of the Hail Mary and a single praying of "Glory Be to the Father" and is sometimes accompanied by the Fatima Prayer; each of these sequences is known as a decade. The praying of each decade is accompanied by meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recall the life of Jesus Christ.
The traditional 15 Mysteries of the Rosary were standardized, based on the long-standing custom, by Pope St. Pius V in the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the joyful mysteries, the sorrowful mysteries, and the glorious mysteries. In 2002, Pope John Paul II announced five new optional mysteries, the luminous mysteries, bringing the total number of mysteries to 20.
The term has come to be used to refer to similar beads in other religions.
The rosary is part of the Catholic veneration of Mary, which has been promoted by numerous popes, especially Leo XIII, known as "The Rosary Pope", who issued twelve encyclicals and five apostolic letters on the rosary and added the invocation Queen of the most Holy Rosary to the Litany of Loreto. Pope Pius V introduced the rosary into the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, celebrated on October 7. Most recently, on May 3, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI stated that the Rosary is experiencing a new springtime: "It is one of the most eloquent signs of love that the young generation nourish for Jesus and his Mother." To Benedict XVI, the rosary is a meditation on all important moments of salvation history. Before him, Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae built on the "total Marian devotion" pioneered by Saint Louis de Montfort. Pope Pius XII and his successors actively promoted the veneration of the Virgin in Lourdes and Fatima, which is credited with a new resurgence of the rosary within the Catholic Church.
The theologian Romano Guardini defined the Roman Catholic emphasis on the rosary as "participation in the life of Mary, whose focus was Christ". His statement echoed the view that in Roman Catholic Mariology the path to Christ is through Mary, with Mariology being inherent in Christology; a sentiment also expressed by saints such as Louis de Montfort who was a strong rosary advocate. Pope Leo XIII also viewed the rosary as a vital means to participate in the life of Mary and to find the way to Christ (see the section on Rosary Pope below).
Many similar prayer practices exist in other Christian communities, each with its own set of prescribed prayers and its own form of prayer beads, such as the prayer rope in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. These other devotions and their associated beads are usually referred to as "chaplets". The rosary is sometimes used by other Christians, especially in Lutheranism, the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Church. Other Protestants, however, such as Baptists and Presbyterians, do not use it and actively discourage their members from using this method of prayer.