On October 16, 2002, as he began the twenty-fifth year of his Pontificate, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter called Rosarium Virginis Mariae. In this document, the Holy Father made a change to the rosary - the addition of a new set of mysteries. He states in his apostolic letter: "for the Rosary to become more fully a 'compendium of the Gospel', it is fitting to add, following reflection on the Incarnation and the hidden life of Christ (the joyful mysteries) and before focusing on the sufferings of his Passion (the sorrowful mysteries) and the triumph of his Resurrection (the glorious mysteries), a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his public ministry (the mysteries of light). This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory."
The Luminous Mysteries, which celebrate the life of Christ, are:
- The Baptism in the Jordan
- The Wedding at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
The rosary consists of 5 decades - one for reflection of each mystery. (There are 5 mysteries in each set.)
Traditionally, the Joyful Mysteries are recited on Mondays & Thursdays, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays & Fridays, and Glorious Mysteries on Wednesdays & Saturdays. Sundays vary with the liturgical calendar: the Joyful mysteries during Advent, the Sorrowful mysteries during Lent, and the Glorious Mysteries on other Sundays. The pope has suggested that the second Joyful Mystery be moved from Thursday to Saturday, and that the Mysteries of Light be used for reflection on Thursdays.
The Mysteries of the Rosary are:
The Joyful Mysteries:
The Sorrowful Mysteries:
The Glorious Mysteries:
How to say the Rosary:
Begin the rosary with the Sign of the Cross and by saying the Apostles Creed, followed by one Our Father, three Hail Marys, the Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer. (The Fatima Prayer follows each Glory Be.)
Next are the five decades. Before beginning each decade, announce the mystery. (For example: The first Glorious Mystery - the Resurrection.) For each decade, recite 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer.
Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen.
Prayers of the Rosary:
The Apostle's Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.
Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Oh clement, Oh loving, Oh sweet Virgin Mary!
Pray for us, Oh Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer After The Rosary
Oh God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. Grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.