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On October the 16th 2002 Pope John Paul II began the 25th year of his reign. In order to mark this historic event he declared the year (Oct 2002 – Oct 2003) “The year of the Rosary”.

In his public address he urged Catholics everywhere to continue to pray the Rosary as often as possible. On the same day he also introduced five new mysteries of the Rosary called the Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light.

The Pope felt that while the old mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious) focused on Jesus’ birth, passion and resurrection they made no mention of Jesus’ ministry and the Mysteries of Light were designed to fill this need.

The Luminous Mysteries are as follows

  1. The Baptism of Jesus.
  2. The Wedding at Cana.
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
  4. The Transfiguration
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist

As a result of these new Mysteries the days on which the mysteries were traditionally prayed (see wu above) had to be changed. The system now looks like this:

It is still traditional to pray the Glorious mysteries everyday from Easter Sunday until the following Sunday.

There a huge number of regional traditions relating the rosary but the basic formula described in SueZVudu’s wu is always the same. One interesting variant however is a German one. In Germany the mystery being prayed is incorporated into every Hail Mary as follows. Take the standard Hail Mary and at the end of the line:


“blesséd are thou amongst women and blesséd is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”
(“Du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen und gebenedeit ist die Frucht Deines Leibes Jesu”)
add on what Jesus did in the Mystery you are praying.
e.g. “blesséd are thou amongst women and blesséd is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, who rose from the dead.”
(“Du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen und gebenedeit ist die Frucht Deines Leibes Jesu, der von den Toten auferstanden ist.")

This tradition is a particular favorite of Pope John Paul II’s because it underlines the emphasis of the Rosary on Jesus rather than on Mary.