[quote:1w07ykv8]Why do you think you need to do good deeds or works to get into heaven?
Why do you say the rosary?
What is the rosary?
Why do you do the stations of the cross?
These are just some of the many questions I’ve been asked through the years [/quote:1w07ykv8]
What is the rosary?
The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, “Rose Garden”), is a traditional popular devotion in the Roman Catholic Church. The term denotes both a set of prayer beads and a system of set prayers to be said as the beads are told. The Rosary combines vocal prayer and meditation centered around sequences of reciting the Lord’s Prayer followed by ten recitations of the “Hail Mary” prayer and a single recitation of “Glory Be to the Father”; each of these sequences is known as a decade.
Until the recent addition of five additional Mysteries by Pope John Paul II, the Rosary had been prayed in three parts of five Mysteries assigned throughout the week. Today the Rosary can be prayed in four parts, one part each day, with the “Mysteries” (which are meditated or contemplated on during the prayers) being rotated daily. But those who want to say the rosary the way all of the saints did can still pray it in three parts.
What distinguishes the Rosary from other forms of prayer is that, along with the vocal prayers, it includes a series of meditations. Each decade of the Rosary is said while meditating on one of the “Mysteries” of redemption. These mysteries originated in the 15th century, and while there has been some disagreement on them (the final mystery is sometimes the Last Judgment) the earliest sets bear a remarkable resemblance to those still used.
Many similar prayer practices exist in popular Catholicism, each with its own set of prescribed prayers and its own form of bead counters. These other devotions and their associated beads are usually referred to as “chaplets.” (To see types of prayer-bead prayers used by other religions, see article on prayer beads).
The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary has the liturgical rank of universal memorial. It is associated with Our Lady of Victory and is celebrated on October 7 on the Catholic liturgical calendar in commemoration of the “Victory of Our Lady” at the Battle of Lepanto.