The month of October may be the quintessential month of fall with its cooler temperatures, fallen leaves, football schedule, apple harvests and shorter days, but it is also the month of the rosary because the liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on Oct. 7. It is believed that the Our Father and Hail Mary were recited with prayer beads in the Middle Ages. According to catholicculture.org, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying because of failure in combating the Albigensian heresy. The website states, “Mary praised him (St. Dominic) for his valiant fight against the heretics and then gave him the rosary as a weapon, explained its uses and efficacy, and told him to preach it to others.”

A papal bull by Pope Pius V, Consueverunt Romani Pontifices, issued Sept. 17, 1579, confirmed the use of the rosary by the Catholic Church.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Medieval piety in the West developed the prayer of the rosary as a popular substitute for the Liturgy of the Hours” (2278). The text continues by stating that Mary is the “perfect Orans (pray-er)” and by praying to her we join in God’s plan, “who sends his son to save all men. “Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living” (2279).

The rosary consists of “decades” or 10 prayers of the “Hail Mary,” each preceded by the “Our Father” and concluded by “Glory Be to the Father.” It is accompanied by the meditations on the life of Christ.

“The rosary is Christocentric setting forth the entire life of Jesus Christ, the passion, death, resurrection and glory,” states catholicculture.org. The meditations include the Glorious Mysteries, prayed on Sunday and Wednesday; the Joyful Mysteries, on Monday and Saturday; the Sorrowful Mysteries, on Tuesday and Friday; and, the Luminous Mysteries, prayed on Thursday. The Luminous Mysteries were added in 2002, by Pope John II in his encyclical, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae.”