Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Living Rosary

Dear Theophilus,

Over the past two weeks I’ve had the opportunity on a few different occasions to take part in a very unique experience: The Living Rosary.

The premise of The Living Rosary is quite simple – each participant becomes a living bead of the Rosary. The levels on which The Living Rosary brings the participants closer to Christ are much more complex.

Developed by a member of the Catholic Women’s League at St. John the Evangelist parish in Whitby, Ontario; the Living Rosary is designed not only to teach about the Rosary, but also heighten praying the Rosary through the five senses.

The first thing that struck me as I entered the chapel at school (and again later in the week at the parish hall) were the lights and colours in the centre of the chairs set up to be our Rosary. A statue of Mary stood at the foot of a Cross studded with white Christmas lights and was surrounded by rope-lights of yellow, blue, white, red and green. It was explained that these colours came from St. Mother Teresa’s Rosary that she used to pray for world peace and conversion, each colour representing a continent (yellow-Asia, blue-Oceania, white-Europe, red-the Americas, and green-Africa). In the parish hall, candles were also lit to signify each bead of the Rosary as that prayer was said.

Before the Living Rosary began, roses were passed around to arouse our sense of smell. The sweet scent of the roses reminded us of our mothers, and of Mary as the Mother of God. They also served as a reminder of the great responsibility God has given us as stewards of the earth. As for myself, the roses reminded me of the roses on Mary’s feet when she appeared to St. Bernadette in the grotto at Lourdes.

Listening to others lead the Rosary was also a special treat. I find there is nothing more edifying for my faith than to hear young children recite prayers. Added to this was the multitude of languages used to lead different parts of the Rosary: English, French, Spanish, Tagalog and Slovenian – really making this a Rosary for world peace and conversion.

As each Hail Mary of the Rosary was recited, each person/bead attached a rough cord onto a larger rope, noting that that prayer had been said. The rough cords symbolized Christ’s suffering before he took up his Cross, and that each of us needs to confront suffering in our lives. For those who lead the Our Father, a soft cloth was draped over their shoulders, signifying God’s comforting forgiveness.

Once the Rosary was completed, there was a brief social to talk about our experiences where participants in the Living Rosary were invited to partake in a cookie Rosary, tasting the sweetness of God’s love.


I was so moved by my original experience with the Living Rosary at school, that I took my wife and son to the parish Living Rosary a week later, and they too shared in the joy and excitement I felt in praying this way.

If you want to learn more about the Living Rosary, you can check out the CWL website at St. John the Evangelist parish in Whitby here.