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Explanation and  History of the Holy Rosary

The Rosary has been a major influence in Roman Catholic thought for over 500 years while paving the way for a greater understanding of the mystery of Christ celebrated within family prayer.

The Rosary is the tradition-distilled essence of Christian devotion in which vocal and mental prayer unite the whole person in effective and purposeful meditation on the central mysteries of Christian belief. The Rosary thus joins the human race to God through Mary whom God chose from all time for the specific purposes of mother and intercessor.

The historical development of the Rosary begins with the desert fathers and their need to find a system to ease their laborious and repetitive prayer life. It is generally agreed by scholars that a system for counting repetitive prayers began with the Hindus some nine centuries before Christ. Prayer counters such as rocks, sticks or notches in wood were employed to ensure that the proper number of prayers were recited. Over time, counters and psalms were united into a "three groups of fifty" format (Na tri coicat) so that "fifties" could be used for personal and/or penitential prayer.

The fifteenth century provided the development period for the many facets of today's Rosary. During this period the Dominican influence with the Rosary grew and was fostered through both fact and legend. Although the Dominicans were not the sole originators of the Rosary, their influence in the growth, devotion and spread of this prayer cannot be denied. It would not be inaccurate to call them the principal promoters and defenders of the Rosary through history.

The fifteenth century saw the Rosary begin its development into the familiar prayer form we know today. The Our Father came intact from the Gospel of Matthew. The Hail Mary developed from the scriptural greetings of Gabriel and Elizabeth to Mary in Luke's Gospel, plus a popular exhortation in use by the laity of that period. The Glory Be was used as a common doxology from the earliest of Christian times when praying the psalms. The Salve Regina, a later addition to the Rosary, states all relevant medieval themes about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its affiliation with the Rosary came about through popular practice although its precise origin within the devotion is not known. The Apostles' Creed along with the rosary pendant were also later developments, being added to the Rosary only in the early seventeenth century.

The voices of those who have promoted the Rosary have continued to speak. Probably the most significant comment which has come forward is the emphasis on the family as the principal body around which the Rosary can be most effectively utilized. Pope Pius XII spoke of the use of the Rosary in the family setting. The Pope's words were in keeping with the trend initiated in 1942 by Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, who became internationally known as "The Rosary Priest." Through his Family Theater productions and international rosary crusades, the Rosary and family prayer became common practices in the typical Roman Catholic household. Father Peyton's expression, "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together ™," became a rallying cry for many of the faithful.

Popes John XXIII and Paul VI introduced new teachings on the Rosary while continuing the teachings of their predecessors. For Pope John, the Rosary was the universal prayer for all the redeemed. Additionally, he taught that the mysteries of the Rosary must have a three-fold purpose: mystical contemplation, intimate reflection and pious intention. Both popes continued to foster the family rosary through writings and support of Father Peyton's Rosary crusade. The views of the pontiffs show that rosary recitation and teaching continues to be important in our contemporary prayer devotion.

By Father Richard Gribble, CSC

Pope John Paul II has issued Rosarium Virginis Mariae to expand upon his love and promotion of the Rosary and to renew this centuries old prayer. In this document he tells us,

Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness.


Rosarium Virginis MariaePara. 1

We, at Holy Cross Family Ministries, are very pleased that our Holy Father is highlighting the importance and the significance of what he calls this "simple yet profound" form of prayer for all the world. We believe, as the Holy Father does and as our founder, Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, did that the Rosary is an important form of prayer for individuals, for families, for communities, for the world.

The additional mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, provide greater insights and greater learnings into Christ's life as we reflect on these significant events of his public life.

The Rosary is a powerful tool to help us achieve peace ... within our families ... within our world. The Holy Father tells us,

As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and it certainly brought them closer togther. It is important not to lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families ...

The family that prays together stays together ™. The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their convenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God.

Rosarium Virginis Mariae

Para 41

We, at Holy Cross Family Ministries, will work to help the faithful find ways to incorporate the new mysteries into their Rosary prayer in a meaningful way. We will also work with you to help bring others to this "simple yet profound" prayer in our hope to strengthen families, the basic unit of society, and in turn strengthen our world ... as our founder was famous for proclaiming, "A World at Prayer is a World at Peace ®."  

Mysteries

JOYFUL MYSTERIES:

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. The Annunciation

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. And coming to Mary, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." (Lk 1:26-28)  

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2. The Visitation

Mary set out and traveled to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." (Lk 1:39-45)  

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3. The Birth of Our Lord

And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger . . . And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Lk 2:1-20)  

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4. The Presentation in the Temple

Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord. At the temple Simeon and Anna came forward, gave thanks to God and spoke about Jesus to all who were present. (Lk 2:22-38)  

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5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

The boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. (Lk 2:41-50)  

LUMINOUS MYSTERIES

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1. The Baptism in the Jordan

And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Mt. 3:17)  

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2. The Wedding at Cana

"Women, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." (Jn 2:1-12)  

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3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God

"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mk 1:15)  

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4. The Transfiguration

While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. (Lk9:29)  

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5. The Institution of the Eucharist

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. (Jn 13:1)  
 
 

SORROWFUL MYSTERIES: 

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1. The Agony in the Garden

Jesus went to a place called Gethsemane to pray. "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." (Mt 26:36-46)  

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2. The Scourging at the Pillar

The chief priests with the elders and the scribes held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, had Jesus scourged and handed him over to be crucified. (Mk 15:1-16)  

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3. The Crowning with Thorns

They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (Mt 27:27-31)  

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4. The Carrying of the Cross

Jesus, weak from being beaten, was unable to carry His cross to Golgotha alone. Simon, a Cyrenian, helped him. (Mk 15:20-22)  

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5. The Crucifixion

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Lk 23:33-46)  
 

GLORIOUS MYSTERIES:

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1. The Resurrection

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. An angel appeared and said, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said." (Mt 28:1-10)  

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2. The Ascension of Our Lord

As Jesus blessed them He parted from them and was taken up to heaven. (Lk 24:44-53)  

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3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit." (Jn 14:15-21)  

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4. The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven

"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory." (from Munificentissimus Deus (1950):DS 3903)  

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5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ." (from the Solemn Profession of Faith: Credo of the People of God)

Anthony's Day was an opportunity for all the Parishioners to get together, to get close and to live like a family. Also the Marriage Preparation and the Baptisms were the Solid proof that the Maronite Tradition must live on.

Our success was a contribution of our generous Parishioners who gave so generously so we could renovate the Sanctuary and the Altar that now follow our Maronite and Rite traditions. Also with the financial and emotional help of our Parishioners and Our Lady of Lebanon Auxiliary and others, we renovated the Church Rectory and the Church Hall.

Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine that looks over the Parish and the town got a taste of renovations too. The Stations of the Cross became reality with the enthusiasm and effort of the ladies who cared for the Shrine since twenty years ago, dedicating themselves totally to Our Lady of Lebanon, the Patron of the Shrine. And during the Feast of the Assumption August, 1999 His Excellency Mgr. Joseph Khoury Blessed the Stations of the Cross.

Our success was great, and soon we started helping other Parishes who were struggling to start, like us. Knowing that St. Elias in London was in need for Pews, we sent them what they needed. Our intention of helping others didn't stop in our neighborhood, but it took a bigger step by sending pews to Our Lady's Parish in Haiti - Central America, and the Maronite Eparchy in Montreal with the amount of $ 17.000 from the Parish and the Shrine.

As St. Peter's Parish celebrated their 75th Anniversary, we wish them all the best with all the generations that grew up in this Parish through the Sacraments of Baptisms, Confirmation and Marriages, and we wish that one day, down the road, with the perseverance and the diligence of our Pastor Father Elie Zouein we will reach like them the point of making HISTORY.


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