Rosaries - The Catholic Rosary

The rosary is a cherished prayer of the Catholic Church. Traditionally, Catholics are supposed to contemplate three periods, or mysteries, of Jesus' life as they recite the prayers: the joyous mysteries of his birth, the sorrowful mysteries of his crucifixion, and the glorious mysteries of his resurrection.

Pope John Paul II has proposed adding another set of mysteries: the "mysteries of light," which highlight five different periods of Jesus' life.

The rosary is closely associated with St. Dominic de Guzmán, who founded the Dominican order. The Dominicans were the principal promoters of the rosary beginning in the 15th century.

Existing mysteries
Joyful: Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation, Finding in the Temple.

Sorrowful: Agony in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, Crucifixion

Glorious: Resurrection, Ascension, Descent of Holy Spirit, Assumption, Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

New mysteries
Mysteries of Light: Christ's Baptism, Wedding Feast at Cana, Proclamation of Coming of the Kingdom of God, Transfiguration, Institution of the Eucharist

VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II has marked the 24th anniversary of his papacy by introducing changes to the Rosary, the prayers said using sets of beads.

The 82-year-old pontiff announced the changes in the centuries-old Rosary in his weekly audience, simultaneously issuing a special document.

John Paul proclaimed the start of the Year of the Rosary and urged Catholics to take advantage of the new focus on the Rosary to revive their faith and flagging practice of the set of prayers.

"We must rediscover the profound mysticism contained in the simplicity of this prayer, dear to popular tradition," the pope told thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square.

The Rosary is a series of prayers, many dedicated to the Virgin Mary, that are recited over and over again with the help of sets of beads that the faithful hold.

Traditionally, Catholics are supposed to contemplate three periods, or mysteries, of Christ's life as they recite the prayers: the joyous mysteries of his birth, the sorrowful mysteries of his crucifixion, and the glorious mysteries of his resurrection.

On Wednesday, John Paul proposed adding another set of mysteries: the "mysteries of light," which highlight five different periods of Christ's life.

They are: his baptism; the wedding feast at Cana, where according to the Bible, he transformed water into wine; his proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God; the Transfiguration, when God commanded the apostles to listen to Christ; and the institution of the Eucharist.

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