Praying the Rosary

Pope Francis has been looking for ways to strengthen all of us for the challenges of Coronavirus. Recently, he recommended that we all use the month of May, which has always been devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to reinvigorate our love for the Rosary. This powerful prayer has the might to make a big difference in our ability to endure this trial with grace.

Many of our parishioners pray the Rosary and get great strength from it. For years there has been a Tuesday evening Rosary group that prays together at St. Mary’s. You could also often find a group of parishioners praying the Rosary together after weekday Mass at St. Patrick’s or before the 11:30 Mass at St. Mary’s. Many others remembering learning the Rosary as a child but have long since forgotten how to pray it. For a variety of reasons, others never learned it.

If you’d like to learn the Rosary or refresh your memory after a time away from the prayer, you can click here for an easy guide.

Pope Francis has also written two new concluding prayers for the Rosary to help us through this time of viral fear and uncertainty. Click here to access the full text of those prayers.

Some of my most powerful experiences with the Rosary have been when I have applied my own struggles to the prayers and the mysteries. I once sat by the bedside of my dying grandmother, and unsure of what day of the week it was because of my grief, I replaced the mysteries for each decade of the Rosary with an era of her life. The first was her childhood, as one of 11, a daughter of Polish immigrants; the second, her meeting my grandfather and deciding to share her life with him; the third was motherhood; the fourth, her friendships with the key people who blessed her life; and finally her relationship with her grandchildren, including me. It made the Rosary so meaningful in that moment and we prayed it holding hands, with her sometimes looking into my eyes, sometimes drifting off to sleep.

A friend of mine has done something similar with the Rosary during this time of pandemic. He recommends offering each of the mysteries for groups of people suffering from the challenges of these times in particular ways. Here are his beautiful suggestions below…

Joyful Mysteries

(Traditionally prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)

  1. The Annunciation
    …pray for pregnant women
  2. The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
    …pray for the elderly
  3. The Nativity of Jesus
    …pray for babies born during the Pandemic
  4. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
    …pray for families, tested by the stresses of lockdown
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple at Age 12
    …pray that leaders of faith, science and government will work together for the good of all

Luminous Mysteries

(Traditionally prayed on Thursdays)

  1. The Baptism of Jesus
    ….pray for Willow, Jackie, Dahlia, Ernesto, Jim, Lisa
    and all whose full communion with the Church has been delayed by the Pandemic
  2. The Wedding at Cana
    …pray for all whose weddings, graduations and other celebrations have been cancelled
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom
    …pray for doctors, nurses and health care workers
  4. The Transfiguration
    …pray for essential employees and first responders
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist
    …pray for sisters, priests, deacons, bishops, monks, brothers and those in formation

Sorrowful Mysteries

(Traditionally prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays)

  1. The Agony in the Garden
    …pray for the unemployed and small business owners
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
    …pray for all those with ongoing illnesses that can’t get treatment because of the Pandemic
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
    …pray for those already suffering from poverty, hunger, war and homelessness who now have this struggle on top of it
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
    …pray for those sick with COVID-19
  5. The Crucifixion
    …pray for all those who couldn’t be with their loved ones as they died or have a funeral

Perhaps as you pray this way…

  • During the Our Father prayer at the start of each decade, you could hold before Mary the names of people you know who fit the intention for that decade.
  • Then you could pray the 10 Hail Marys of the decade for people in the entire world who fit that intention.
  • Devote the “Hail Holy Queen” prayer for every person in our world who has been forgotten, marginalized, pushed aside, judged or condemned – that mercy and love might be shown to all.
  • End with one of Pope Francis’ brand-new Rosary prayers for the Pandemic.

May Mary, Mother of God and our mother, embrace all her children in distress and pray to free us from our suffering. We all know that the love of a mother can do miracles.

Happy Mother's Day,
Father Scott