The Rosary, a Contemplative Prayer for Everyone

October is the Month of the rosary, the iconic Marian Catholic prayer dating back at least 800 years. The prayer, which centers on events in the life of Christ, is associated with St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, or Dominican Friars.

St. Dominic and his friars preached against Albigensianism, a thirteenth century European heresy that denied the goodness of the human body and of the material world. According to tradition, after an unsuccessful preaching mission, Our Lady appeared to Dominic and handed him a set of rosary beads, instructing him in a prayer that would soften hearts to receive the Gospel.

Pope St. John Paul II, who added the Luminous Mysteries to the prayer, taught that “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer.”

Alluding to the fact that all the faithful, not just monks and nuns, are called to live a contemplative life in some degree, the sainted pope taught that the rosary “represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery.”

Oct. 7 marked the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, which commemorates the role of the prayer in securing the survival of Christian Europe at the naval battle of Lepanto. The rosary is associated with spiritual warfare, but also with peace between nations.

After the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, Pope Francis urged Catholics to pray the rosary “for the gift of peace for the many countries of the world marked by war and conflict,” according to CNA.

For those interested in praying the rosary together with other Catholics, two gatherings will take place on Oct. 14 at 12:00 noon: a Public Square Rosary Rally in front of St. Anne Convent, Bethlehem, and the Rosary Crusade for America, Assumption BVM Church, Slatington.

An America Needs Fatima rosary rally will also be held Saturday, Oct. 14 at 12:00 noon at the Island Park pavilion in Schuylkill Haven at 12:00 noon. It is hosted by St. Ambrose Parish, Schuylkill Haven.

The Bishop’s Commission for Men holds a Monthly Rosary for Families every third Wednesday at 7pm. To learn more, visit

The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, canonically maintained by the Dominican Order, offers a way to be united with others devoted to the rosary throughout the world during private prayer. To learn more or enroll in the eastern US chapter, visit

According to the Handbook of Indulgences, “A plenary indulgence is granted when the rosary is recited in a church or oratory or when it is recited in a family, a religious community, or a pious association.”

Photo by Thérèse Westby on Unsplash.

Article updated Oct 12, 2023.


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