(U-WIRE) IOWA CITY, Iowa
The Roman Catholic Church changed its most well-known prayer, therosary, for the first time in centuries by announcing a new set ofmysteries to meditate on while praying.
Pope John Paul II announced the change in an apostolic letter onOct. 16, declaring the period between October 2002 and October 2003as the Year of the Rosary and adding the mysteries of light, or theluminous mysteries, to the rosary. Church officials said thechanges are aimed at reconnecting Catholics to the rosary andencouraging them to pray it more often.
“The rosary uses what we call mysteries to reflect on theimportant events of Christ’s life,” said Father EdFitzpatrick, the director of and campus minister at the NewmanCatholic Student Center. “I think that it’s a great newreflection.”
The mysteries of light include Christ’s baptism, his firstmiracle at Cana, his proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God,the transfiguration of Christ in front of three disciples, and theestablishment of the Eucharist as a sacrament.
“I sense that the Holy Father is dismayed at the darkness inthe world and wants us to pray for light with these new luminousmysteries,” said Father John Stecher, a campus minister atthe Newman Center.
Thomas Scheck, a UI graduate student in religion, said the additionis important because it diverts from the three standardmysteries.
“I think it’s very significant because he is promotingthe use of the rosary as a devotional tool for Catholics and ismaking these mysteries more focused on Christ’s earthlyministrations,” he said.
The rosary incorporates common Catholic prayers, such as theLord’s Prayer and Hail Mary, to meditate on the 15 mysteriesof the life of Jesus Christ.
The rosary includes the five joyful mysteries of Christ’sbirth, the five sorrowful mysteries of his crucifixion, and thefive glorious mysteries of his resurrection.
The circle of beads ends in a crucifix and is divided into fivesections, each consisting of 11 beads representing a mystery in oneof the four different types of mysteries.
“The pope has had a lifelong commitment to Mary and therosary and to helping Catholics to grow in personal holiness,prayer, and closeness to God,” Scheck said. “I thinkthat he feels that he is nearing the end of his life and career andwanted to make another contribution to helping people on their pathto holiness by improving the rosary for futuregenerations.”
Most Catholics seem pleased with the addition.
“I think these are an important part of the Bible and ofreligious history, [which] need to be taken intoconsideration,” said Yoyo Aguilar, a Newman Centerparishioner. “I’m glad that they did it.”
(U-WIRE) IOWA CITY, Iowa