October is Rosary Month. On October 7, Irish Catholics commemorate the Blessed Mother’s Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. October was also the month in which Mary appeared to shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, for the final time, encouraging them to “say the rosary every day to obtain global peace.”

What is the Holy Rosary?

The term “rosary” comes from the Latin word “rosarium,” which translates as “rose crown” or “rose garland.” To those who practice the Catholic Faith, the Rosary is a method of prayer that we employ in conjunction with the Rosary’s titular prayer beads. When referring to the prayer, the word Rosary is usually capitalized, whereas when discussing the beads, it is in lower case.

According to pious tradition, Saint Dominic received the idea for the Rosary when the Virgin Mary appeared to him in an apparition in 1214. Our Lady of the Rosary is the title given to this Marian apparition. Alanus de Rupe, a Dominican priest and theologian, promoted the Rosary practice by establishing the “fifteen rosary promises” and establishing several rosary confraternities.

Rosary devotion is one of the most defining characteristics of popular Catholic spirituality. The Rosary inspires Catholics to reflect on the mysteries of Jesus and Mary’s lives. As Catholics, meditation is critical to daily life. Meditation, according to the Catholic Church’s Catechism, “involves thought, imagination, emotion, and desire.” This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to strengthen our faith convictions, prompt our hearts to convert, and fortify our resolve to follow Christ.”

What are Rosary Beads?

Irish Rosary beads come in all shapes, colors, sizes and quality and usually have a Celtic cross and Saint Patrick Medal or Saint Brigid Medal center. Some rosaries are strung with pearl, crystal, wood and even Connemara marble. In its simplest form, the rosary is a tool used to facilitate prayer and meditation. A rosary bead keeps track of the prayers while they are repeated aloud or in the mind. Utilizing the rosary beads to keep count of the number of times you’ve recited a specific prayer enables you to calm your thoughts and focus more effectively on your prayer.

How to Pray the Holy Rosary

The steps to praying the Rosary are:

  1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the “Apostles’ Creed”
  2. Say the “Our Father”
  3. Say three “Hail Marys” for Faith, Hope, and Charity
  4. Say the “Glory Be”
  5. Announce the First Mystery and then say the “Our Father”
  6. Say ten “Hail Marys” while meditating on the Mystery
  7. Say the “Glory Be” (Optional: Say the “O My Jesus” prayer requested by Mary at Fatima)
  8. Announce the Next Mystery; then say the “Our Father” and repeat these steps (6 through 8) as you continue through the remaining Mysteries.
  9. Say the closing prayers: the “Hail Holy Queen” and “Final Prayer”
  10. Make the “Sign of the Cross”