"Prayer is so much more than just 'saying your prayers.' Praying is a spiritual adventure." Fr. John Bartunek
Devotions are prayers and practices that are not part of the liturgy of the Church. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops describes devotions as "expressions of love and fidelity that arise from the intersection of one's own faith, culture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Devotions are not considered part of liturgical worship, even if they are performed in a church or led by a priest. Click here to learn more about popular devotional practices.
The Rosary is a sequence of prayers. As St. John Paul II said, "it's a compendium of the Gospel" and is intended to help us grow in our faith as we come to an ever deeper understanding of the life, death, resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. It is not, as some non-Catholics have misunderstood it to be, a prayer to Mary but rather a prayer asking for Our Lady's intercession.
The Mysteries of the Rosary are meditations on episodes in the life and death of Jesus from the Annunciation to the Ascension and beyond. Pope Pius V established a standard 15 Mysteries of the Rosary, grouped into three sets: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. In 2002, Pope John Paul II added the five Luminous Mysteries. Each set of mysteries is prayed on specific days of the week. They serve as a backdrop to the decades of the rosary, invite us to reflect on how these significant moments in Jesus' life hold valuable lessons for our own lives, and reinforcesour belief that God is always with us and holds us in the palm of His hand.
Joyful Mysteries (prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)
- The Annunciation of the Lord
- The Visitation
- The Nativity of the Lord
- The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
Sorrowful Mysteries (prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays)
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning with Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord
Glorious Mysteries (prayed on Sundays and Wednesdays)
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of Mary
- The Coronation of the Virgin
Luminous Mysteries (prayed on Thursdays)
- The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
- The Wedding at Cana
- Jesus' Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
Although the praying of the Rosary follows a standard practice, there are common variations. Some recite the Fatima Prayer (O My Jesus, Forgive us our sins; Save us from the fires of hell and bring all souls to heaven, especially those who most need thy mercy. Amen." at the end of each decade, preceding or following the Glory Be. Some add the Miraculous Medal prayer "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee". Others add a praying of the pious Eucharistic prayer "O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine" at the end of each decade in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. For a simple tutorial on how to pray the rosary, visit: https://dynamiccatholic.com/rosary/how-to-pray-the-rosary.
Whether you are unfamiliar with the practice of praying the rosary or you more fully experience the beauty of the Rosary when joined by another prayer warrior, St. Maria Goretti parishioner Corinna Tavano offers virtual rosary videos:
Joyful Mysteries Rosary
Luminous Mysteries Rosary
Glorious Mysteries Rosary
Sorrowful Mysteries Rosary
Corinna also invites you to pray the rosary with her live through Zoom on Tuesday mornings at 8am. Click here to watch her personal invitation. Please email Corinna and use the word ROSARY (all caps) in the subject line.
Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross -- also known as the Way of the Cross, the Way of Sorrow, or the Via Crucis -- refers to a series of images depicting the path of Jesus Christ on his final day on earth. The stations are representations along the actual path on the Via Dolorosa where Jesus walked to Mount Calvary. The purpose is provide the faithful with a way to make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the Passion of Christ.
The series of stations is as follows: (1) Jesus is condemned to death, (2) He is made to bear his cross, (3) He falls the first time, (4) He meets his mother, (5) Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross, (6) Veronica wipes Jesus’ face, (7) He falls the second time, (8) the women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus, (9) He falls the third time, (10) He is stripped of his garments, (11) He is nailed to the cross, (12) He dies on the cross, (13) He is taken down from the cross, and (14) He is placed in the sepulchre.
Virtual Stations of the Cross
For the times when we cannot go to a church to pray the devotions dedicated to following the last earthly footsteps of Jesus, we offer this virtual version, featuring the Stations at St. Maria Goretti and Our Lady of the Assumption Churches, with seminarian Colin McNabb leading us in prayer: Lynnfield Catholic Collaborative Virtual Stations of the Cross. Click here for the accompanying guide: Stations of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Liguori
As another alternative, here are the Stations of the Cross and reflections offered by Bishop Barron: Word on Fire Stations of the Cross.
In 1931, Sister Faustina Kowalska, a simple Polish nun, reported that Jesus visited her and brought a wonderful message of
mercy for all mankind. Jesus asked her to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet and instruct others to do so. The chaplet's prayers for mercy are threefold: to obtain mercy, to trust in Christ's mercy, and to show mercy to others. He also asked her to paint the vision of His Merciful Divinity being poured from His sacred heart and specifically asked for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established on the first Sunday after Easter so mankind would take refuge in Him. On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina and designated Divine Mercy Sunday.
Divine Mercy Sunday is a very special Sunday when the Divine Floodgates from Heaven are opened wide and Jesus offers us the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment to any soul, who goes to Confession (within 20 days before or after) and receives Holy Communion.
To find out more about the history of the chaplet, a step-by-step guide to the prayers, and audio and video accompaniments to praying the chaplet, visit www.divinemercy.org.
Steve Angrisano, a contemporary Catholic singer, songwriter, storyteller, and ministry leader offers daily Divine Mercy chaplet prayer services with music and reflections starting at 2:55pm: https://www.facebook.com/watch/steveangrisanomusic/.