Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Month of Ma(r)y and Explaining a Really Long Rosary

Take a look at the photo above. The character in the statue is carrying what looks like a Rosary, right?  There is a crucifix, the first few beads for the opening prayers, and beads in groups of ten for each decade of the Rosary.  Here's where it get's fishy.  A typical Rosary has five of these decades, but clearly there are a lot more here.  I counted fifteen decades.  That's 150 Hail Marys!

Yes, there are people who are devoted to prayer, but how many folks really do 150 Hail Marys in a sitting?  What could this super-long Rosary mean?  Is it maybe just a Paul Bunyan-esque gimmick so people in the back of church can see it?  

Ok, it isn't anything too superfluous.  This statue is a representation of Our Lady of the Rosary.  The long Rosary she is carrying represents the fifteen different decades of the Rosary grouped by what the Church calls the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries.  Pope (now Saint) John Paul II added a fourth set of mysteries, the Luminous, late in his Pontificate.  If Our Lady's Rosary were up-to-date, it would have twenty mysteries and over 200 prayer beads!

Today marks the last day of May, often referred to by the Catholic Church as "The Month of Mary."  On my visit to St. Peter's in Stevens Point last month, I noticed this statue of St. Mary and the Christ Child and was surprised to see this huge Rosary.  A little explanation from the young seminarian at the parish and a bit of intuition clarified its purpose.

St. Peter's Parish
800 4th Avenue, Stevens Point, WI 54481

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