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This section of our web guide is about the Catholic Marian devotion known as the Rosary.

Also known as the Dominican Rosary, the Catholic Rosary is distinct from other forms of rosary, such as the Franciscan Crown, the Bridgettine Rosary, or the Rosary of the Holy Wounds, or the use of prayer beads in other religions.

When referring to the Rosary, the word is usually capitalized, as is customary for other names of prayers, such as the "Lord's Prayer" and the "Hail Mary," although references to the prayer beads as an object, it is written in lower case, as in a "rosary bead."

The origins of the Rosary are unclear. Although the Rosary is generally associated with Saint Dominic in the early 13th century, there is evidence of the use of prayer beads and the repeated recitation of prayers prior to Christian times.

Strings of beads were used to count Our Fathers and Hail Marys during the Middle Ages. These strings were known as Paternosters, derived from the Latin for "Our Father." The structure of the Rosary evolved between the 12th and 15th centuries until the current format, based on the three sets of mysteries, was settled upon.

The Rosary consists of a series of prayers and meditations, in this order: 1) Begin by making the Sign of the Cross; 2) Recite the Apostles' Creed; 3) Pray the Our Father (Lord's Prayer); 4) On each of the next three beads, say a Hail Mary, asking for faith, hope, and love; 5) Recite the Glory Be; 6) Reflect on the four sets of Mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous); 7) Decades, each of which consists of one Our Father followed by ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery; 8) Conclude with the Hail, Holy Queen prayer; 9) End by making the Sign of the Cross again.

A common variation to the Rosary are Chaplets, which are specialized Rosaries dedicated to specific saints or devotions. Other Rosaries are made for special occasions, such as First Communion, as well as those designed for military personnel or children. There are also portable Rosary rings with ten beads for quick prayers, small Rosaries that can be hung in a car for protection, and Rosaries designed to be worn as necklaces, wrist bracelets, or ankle bracelets.

The Rosary is a powerful prayer that allows Catholics to contemplate the life of Jesus and Mary, and remains a cherished devotion for Catholics.

Within Christianity, the Rosary is almost exclusively associated with Catholicism, although its use can be found among other Christians.

The use of the Catholic Rosary is relatively common among Anglicans of Anglo-Catholic traditions. Many Anglo-Catholic prayer books and manuals of devotion include the Catholic Rosary, along with other Marian devotions, although the public services of the Anglican churches, as found in the Book of Common Prayer, do not invoke the Blessed Virgin or any other saint in prayer, and the Thirty-Nine Articles reject the practice of praying to saints. Anglican prayer beads, sometimes referred to as the Anglican Rosary, came about in the 1980s, and are not a Marian devotion.

Some Lutherans pray the Rosary, although they tend to replace the Hail Mary with the Jesus Prayer. Some members of the Church of Sweden will pray the traditional Rosary.

Nevertheless, the Rosary is generally a practice of Catholicism.



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