VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II has extended the Rosary by adding five new mysteries dedicated to chapters from Jesus’ public life.
Called the ‘mysteries of light’, the new Rosary themes focus on Christ’s baptism, his first miracle, his preaching ministry, his Transfiguration and his institution of the Eucharist.
The Pope’s innovation is contained in his apostolic letter, ‘Rosarium Virginis Mariae’ (‘The Rosary of the Virgin Mary’), which was published on October 16 – marking the 24th anniversary of the Pope’s election.
In his document, the Pope announces the start of a Year of the Rosary, dedicated to reviving the traditional form of prayer among individuals and families. The year will begin and end in the middle of October, the month the Church reserves in a special way to the Rosary.
Since the 1500s, the Rosary has been recited in a series of three mysteries – the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries – each of which has five themes dedicated to episodes in the lives of Christ and Mary.
The themes of the five new ‘mysteries of light’ are:
1. Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River.
2. Christ’s self-revelation at the marriage of Cana.
3. Christ’s announcement of the Kingdom of God with the invitation to conversion.
4. Christ’s Transfiguration, when he revealed his glory to his apostles.
5. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper as the sacramental expression of the Paschal mystery.