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Pope approves Rosary makeover

The Holy Father has marked the 24th anniversary of his papacy by introducing changes to the Rosary, the prayers said using sets of beads.

John Paul proclaimed the start of the Year of the Rosary and urged Catholics to take advantage of the new focus on the Rosary to revive their faith and flagging practice of the set of prayers.

"We must rediscover the profound mysticism contained in the simplicity of this prayer, dear to popular tradition," the pope told thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square.

The Rosary is a series of prayers, many dedicated to the Virgin Mary, that are recited over and over again with the help of sets of beads that the faithful hold.

Traditionally, Catholics contemplate three periods, or mysteries, of Christ's life as they recite the prayers: the joyous mysteries of his birth, the sorrowful mysteries of his crucifixion, and the glorious mysteries of his resurrection.

Yestrday, John Paul proposed adding another set of mysteries: the "mysteries of light," which highlight five different periods of Christ's life.

They are: his baptism; the wedding feast at Cana, where according to the Bible, he transformed water into wine; his proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God; the Transfiguration, when God commanded the apostles to listen to Christ; and the institution of the Eucharist.

"This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality," the pope wrote in his apostolic letter.

The pope, who has dedicated his papal motto to the Virgin Mary, is particularly devoted to the Rosary, which he has called his favourite prayer.


Apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II to the bishops, clergy and faithful on the Most Holy Rosary (English text) (Zenit)
John Paul II Answers Rosary's Critics (Zenit)
Pope plans makeover for the rosary (The Guardian)
Pope's plan to strengthen Rosary has all the earmarks of divine inspiration (Spirit Daily)
Pope Adds New Mysteries to Rosary (Catholic World News)
The new 'mysteries of light' (Independent Catholic News)
Rosary is powerful prayer for peace, pope says in apostolic letter (Independent Catholic News)

17 Oct 2002