The Franciscan Rosary: A Tradition of Prayer
During the Middle Ages, most people were not able to read and understand the psalms and scriptures that accompanied the prayers and sacraments of the Church. For this reason, at the beginning of the thirteenth century (corresponding with the latter half of the life of Saint Francis), a series of prayers were introduced to help the faithful maintain their relationship with God and the Church.
Among these prayers was the Rosary. It involved praying “Hail Marys” and “Our Fathers” which were counted on beads. In time, the Rosary would become one of the most popular forms of personal prayer and devotion in the history of the Church. The Order of Preachers (Dominicans) first promoted the Rosary in the form that we know today. But at the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) introduced a new version of the Rosary that focused on joyful events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to one tradition, the Franciscan Rosary originated with a particular event. A young priest names Father James, who had entered the Franciscan Order in Assisi was tempted by demons to surrender his vocation. However, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the young friar and encourage him to persevere in his vocation and to meditate each day upon these seven joyful episodes in her life:
+ The Annunciation
+ The Visitation
+ The Nativity of Jesus
+ The Adoration of the Magi
+ The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
+ The Encounter with the Risen Lord
+ The Crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven
Over time, the story of Father James and his personal devotion to the Franciscan or “Crown” Rosary spread quickly throughout the worldwide Franciscan family. It was formally approved by Pope Leo X in 1517. One begins the Franciscan Rosary by praying the Lord’s Prayer, followed by praising the Holy Trinity by praying: “Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.” Next, each of the seven mysteries is introduced with the Lord’s Prayer; then ten Hail Marys; and finally praise of the Holy Trinity.
After the seventh and last decade, another two Hail Marys are recited in order to achieve a total of seventy-two, the number of years (according to tradition) that the Blessed Mother lived upon this earth. The Franciscan Rosary concludes with an additional Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and praise of the Holy Trinity for the intentions of the Holy Father; followed by the “Hail Holy Queen” prayer, and a closing prayer (see below). In commemoration of the Franciscan Feast in honor of James of the Rosary, a Blessed Servant of the Lord, and the Holy Father’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us join with Franciscans throughout the world in praying this Rosary for ourselves and for believers everywhere.
For our families & friends, we pray: Hail Mary…
For our parish communities, we pray: Hail Mary…
For our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we pray: Hail Mary…
For our departed brothers & sisters, we pray: Hail Mary…
For all who have asked us to pray for them, we pray: Hail Mary…
For the Catholic Church throughout the world, we pray: Hail Mary…
For an increase in faith, hope, and love around the world, we pray: Hail Mary..
Almighty God and Father,
through the glorious resurrection of your Son,
you have given joy to the whole world!
Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
grant that we may enjoy life everlasting life.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us!
Our Lady of Angels, pray for us!
Saint Michael the Archangel, protect us!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a ‘Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit’ with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. As we begin our second decade, we will lead our annual fall pilgrimage to Assisi; meet monthly for Mass, faith formation, and faith sharing; and offer other opportunities for prayer and reflection. The Assisi Project, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit religious organization. All gifts are tax deductible. If you would like to support the Assisi Project or learn more about our upcoming opportunities for faith formation, prayer, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please contact Cliff Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. May the Lord give you peace!
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