The Rosary



The Prayers of the Rosary

The Mysteries of the Rosary

The Rosary is a string of beads or a knotted cord used to count prayers. The term is also applied to the prayers themselves.

In the Roman Catholic practice, the rosary is a string of beads made in the form of a circle, with a pendant crucifix. The standard rosary consists of five sets of beads called decades, each composed of one large and ten smaller beads. On the large beads, the Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, is said; on the smaller beads, the Hail Mary, or Ave Maria. In between the decades the “Glory be,” a doxology, is recited. As the prayers are said, the person reciting the rosary may meditate on a series of New Testament events, called the “mysteries” of the rosary, from the lives of Christ and his mother, Mary. The use of these meditations is optional. Traditionally, the rosary was ascribed to the Spanish theologian St. Dominic early in the 13th century, but no proof exists that he originated it.

Rosaries are used in many religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Most often associated with Roman Catholics, the rosary is also used by the Orthodox, for whom it is almost exclusively a monastic devotion, and by some Anglicans.

(MSN Encarta December 17, 2007)