Devotion to Mary

CCC 971 All generations will call me blessed“: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.


Catholics don’t worship Mary and the saints, but honour them as models and recognise the great saving work God has accomplished in their lives. Catholics do not pray to Mary and the saints like they pray to God, but seek their intercession, asking them to pray for us just as we might ask a friend or family member for prayer. The attention we give to Mary and the saints does not distract us from God, but draws us closer to him, for just as Christian fellowship draws us closer to Christ, so does our communion with the saints in heaven join us closer to Jesus.

The Rosary: A central devotion to Mary, a rosary is made up of a series of prayers counted on a string of beads. The set of ten prayers, known as a decade, consists of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys and one Glory Be. Five decades are prayed in a standard rosary, and each decade focuses on one of the Mysteries of Christ’s life. The mysteries recall important events in the life of Christ. The traditional fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary are the Joyful Mysteries of Christ’s birth, the Sorrowful Mysteries of Christ’s passion and death, and the Glorious Mysteries of his resurrection triumph. In 2002 St. Pope John Paul II introduced five new mysteries—the Luminous Mysteries of Christ’s public ministry. The word “rosary” comes from the Latin rosarium, meaning crown or garland of roses.

Try to say the rosary for yourself and you will see how deeply scriptural and focussed on knowing who Jesus is and how he would like us to be.

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