Most people automatically think of May as Mary’s month, but October is also a special month for honoring Mary as Queen of the Rosary. It’s the perfect opportunity to help people understand the significance of this traditional Catholic prayer and how it evolved over the centuries.

According to legend, Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic in the twelfth century, and gave him beads and instructions on how to pray and meditate on the life of her Son.

Long before this apparition, however, monks who could not read used beads or small stones to count off 150 Our Fathers as an alternative to the recitation of psalms during the Liturgy of the Hours.

In the early 1400’s, fifty Hail Marys with references to Gospel passages formed what was known as the Marian Psalter.

In the 1500’s, the Marian Psalter was changed into the basic prayer we know today, and was called the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Over time, additional prayers have been added to the Rosary, such as the prayer for souls that was given by Our Lady during the apparitions at Fatima in 1917. Pope John Paul II changed the Rosary one more time when he added the Luminous Mysteries or the Mysteries of Light.

Pope Benedict calls the Rosary, “the unique contemplative prayer through which, guided by the Lord’s Heavenly Mother, we fix our gaze on the face of the Redeemer in order to be conformed to his joyful, light-filled, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.”

It might be a good idea to offer a special session during October on how to pray the Rosary. Here is a quick recap of the Mysteries of the Rosary, with Scripture references:

The Mysteries of the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries

1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38)
2. The Visitation (Luke 1: 39-56)
3. The Nativity (Luke 2:1-20)
4. The Presentation (Luke 2:21-38)
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)

The Luminous Mysteries

1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan (II Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 3:17)
2. Jesus' self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana (John 2:1- 12)
3. Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15, Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47- 48, John 20:22-23)
4. Jesus' Transfiguration (Luke 9:35
5. Jesus' institution of the Eucharist (Luke 24:13-35, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25)

The Sorrowful Mysteries

1. The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46)
2. Jesus is scourged at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1)
3. Jesus is crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:2)
4. Jesus carries the Cross (Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17)
5. The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:22-39, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:17-37)

The Glorious Mysteries

1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29)
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11)
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13)
4. The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven
5. The Coronation of Our Lady in Heaven