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The New Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

y Father Charles M. Mangan

"The Year of the Rosary": what a great announcement it was when Pope John Paul II, on his 24th anniversary (October 16, 2002) of his Election as the Successor of Saint Peter, signed his latest Apostolic Letter, The Rosary of the Virgin Mary (available at

It's no secret that the Holy Father wants to urge strongly the daily recitation of the Rosary. He even asks that we remember, amidst our other concerns, a pair of special intentions: 1.) peace in our troubled world; 2.) for families, many of whom are buffeted by diabolical assaults.

Pope John Paul II has been "the Pope of many firsts." Although the Rosary has been the same for 400 years, nevertheless, with his customary lack of fear, the Holy Father decided to add 5 new Mysteries. He calls them the "Luminous Mysteries" or the "Mysteries of Light." Now, the Rosary has a new dimension: explicit reflection on the life of Jesus from His Baptism at the hand of Saint John the Baptist through the Last Supper during which He bestowed on His Apostles (and us) His adorable Body and Blood that is our nourishment for our challenging--and sometimes, tiring--pilgrimage to Heaven.

One may pray daily the entire Rosary of 20 Mysteries or one set (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful or Glorious) of 5 Mysteries.

Joyful (Monday, Saturday): 1. The Archangel Gabriel's Annunciation of the Coming of Jesus to Mary; 2. Mary's Visitation to Elizabeth; 3. Jesus' Nativity in Bethlehem; 4. The Baby Jesus' Presentation in the Temple; 5. The Child Jesus' Finding in the Temple.

Luminous (Thursday): 1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan River; 2. Jesus' Revelation of Himself at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee; 3. Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His Call to Conversion; 4. Jesus' Transfiguration on Mount Tabor; 5. Jesus' Institution of His Body and Blood during the Last Supper as the Sacramental Expression of the Paschal Mystery--His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Sorrowful (Tuesday, Friday): 1. Jesus' Agony in Gethsemane; 2. Jesus' Scourging at the Pillar; 3. Jesus' Crowning with Thorns; 4. Jesus' Carrying of the Cross; 5. Jesus' Crucifixion on Calvary.

Glorious (Sunday, Wednesday): 1. Jesus' Resurrection from the Dead; 2. Jesus' Ascension into Heaven; 3. The Holy Spirit's Descent upon Mary and the Apostles; 4. Mary's Assumption Body and Soul into Paradise; 5. Mary's Coronation as the Queen of the Universe.

The Holy Rosary is a combination of prayers and meditation on the Mysteries. For the Holy Father, praying the Rosary means doing five things with Our Lady: remembering, learning, becoming conformed to, praying to and proclaiming Jesus the Lord.

Here are the Luminous Mysteries and a short reflection on each.

1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan River. Although He was and is the sinless Son of God, Jesus permitted John the Baptist to baptize Him. When Christ ascended from the Jordan, the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove descended on Him while His Father from Paradise said: "This is My Beloved Son, on Whom My favor rests." (St. Matthew 3:13-17)

Jesus, You are the Lord. Answer my prayer when I cry to you. Help me always to profess You regardless of the cost. 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy Mercy."

2. Jesus' Revelation of Himself at the Wedding of Cana in Galilee. With unshakable trust, the Virgin confided in Jesus that there was no more wine. After His reply, the Madonna instructed the waiters to "do whatever He tells you." Then, the Lord of the Universe changed the water into wine, performing His first public miracle. (St. John 2:1-11)

Jesus, You are the Lord. I need Your fresh grace; please evict from my life the old sin that has clung to me. I will answer Mary when she commands me to do whatever You tell me. 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer.

3. Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His Call to Conversion. The Messiah spent Himself in announcing the Good News of His Father's love for His sons and daughters with the corresponding imperative: "Repent, and believe in the Gospel." Christ was not deterred by threats of punishment. He shouted out the Truth and was willing to suffer for it. (St. Mark 1:14-15)

Jesus, You are the Lord. My ears and soul are open to Your message. Let me never harden my heart to Your commands but realize that in them are found the road to Everlasting Life. Help me to value anew the Sacrament of Confession. 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer.

4. Jesus' Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. Christ allowed Peter, James and John to see His Divinity. And they were utterly astounded to see their Lord with Moses and Elijah. The voice of the Master's Father was heard: "This is My Son, the Chosen One. Listen to Him." (St. Luke 9:28-36).

Jesus, You are the Lord. How I must have deeper faith in You! I know that You will not leave me orphaned but will stay with me. Mary responded to Your Divinity. May the same be said about me. 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer.

5. Jesus' Institution of His Body and Blood during the Last Supper as the Sacramental Expression of the Paschal Mystery--His Passion, Death and Resurrection. On Holy Thursday, Jesus Christ left behind gave His Flesh and Blood for all His friends to each and drink. The Lord said: "This is My Body . . . This is the Chalice of My Blood." His Sacred Presence remains in the Tabernacle. The Crucifixion of Jesus the next day completed the stupendous gift of Himself that He began the previous night during the Last Supper. (St. Matthew 26:26-29)

Jesus, You are the Lord. Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion sustains me. Help me to receive the Most Holy Eucharist with the faith and love characteristic of Mary. 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be, Fatima Prayer and the Hail, Holy Queen.

Most Blessed Mary, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!


Father Charles M. Mangan


Catholic Online , IT
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Roman Catholic Priest, 661 869-1000




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