The Living Rosary was established in 1962 by the Guardians of the Holy House of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham as part of The Order of Our Lady of Walsingham.
In 2000, as we began the third millennium, the Guardians took the opportunity to open up the Living Rosary to any member of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham or Priest Associate who wishes to participate in this important, often hidden, ministry. (For details of membership of the Society or becoming a Priest/Deacon Associate visit the Membership section.)
Each day the Rosary is said in the Shrine at 6.00pm (5.00 pm Saturdays during the pilgrimage season). On Monday and Saturday the Joyful Mysteries are recited; on Tuesday and Friday, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and on Wednesday and Sunday, the Glorious Mysteries. The Luminous Mysteries are said each Thursday (see panel).
Each Mystery is offered for a particular intention or need. The Opening Prayers are offered for Priest Associates of the Holy House and in thanksgiving. The first Mystery is offered for the sick; the second for those in spiritual need; the third for those in temporal or material need; the fourth for the departed; and the fifth for the Shrine and the village of Walsingham.
How the two are linked
Although you do not have to offer your decade of the rosary at 6.00 pm, the time of Shrine Prayers in Walsingham, it may help you to know that you are not praying alone if you are able to undertake this work at the same time as those who are gathered in the Shrine.
As part of the introductory prayers, every member of the Living Rosary will also be asked to pray for the Priest Associates of the Holy House and make an act of thanksgiving. You will also be sent a prayer list, updated three times a year, at Christmas, Easter and Assumptiontide.
You yourself will also be remembered at Shrine Prayers as one of the links in a chain of living prayer which will stretch from the Holy House of England's Nazareth across continents to embrace the whole human family.
And offered at the altar
One of the distinctive things about the Shrine Church is its fifteen altars, each one dedicated to a Mystery of the rosary under the patronage of a particular saint.
Each year your work as a link in the living rosary of prayer will be offered to God with thanksgiving in a Mass celebrated at the altar in the Shrine dedicated to the Mystery you have been allocated. You will be informed of the date of that Mass, which will be determined either by the Mystery or the feast day of its patron.
Past, present and future
In order to maintain the continuity of prayer which the members of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham have maintained since 1962, each member of that original Order will become a founder member of the new Living Rosary.
The Mystery allocated to you will be a Mystery that has been prayed in this way for many years. In some cases it will have been very significant in the shaping of a pilgrim journey of faith. The task you are receiving is therefore a precious one.
But not only is this giving of a Mystery of the rosary the gift of a part of Walsingham's history. The rosary is a form of prayer used by Christians throughout the world. It joins you with them in seeking that union with Mary and the whole communion of saints in which the Spirit turns us to Jesus, our great High Priest in whom we have access to the Father of us all.
Those Priests Associate and members of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham applying to join The Living Rosary will be allocated one of the Joyful, Sorrowful or Glorious Mysteries. and asked to pray that particular decade of the rosary on the same day that it is prayed in the Shrine and for the same set of intentions.
So if you were allocated the Mystery of the Annunciation of the Lord, you would pray that decade as part of the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Saturday. Since the Annunciation is the first of the Joyful Mysteries, you would offer it for the sick.
You may also wish to consider undertaking an addition to your spiritual rule by applying to be allocated one of the Luminous Mysteries.
The pattern for Shrine Prayers is as follows:
Mondays and Saturdays
The Joyful Mysteries
Tuesdays and Fridays
The Sorrowful Mysteries
Wednesdays and Sundays
The Glorious Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries
On Christmas Day 2002 the Shrine altered its pattern of the Rosary at Shrine Prayers. This was in response to the letter from the Vatican entitled The Rosary of the Virgin Mary. As well as announcing the year 2002-2003 as "The Year of The Rosary", the letter proclaims a new set of mysteries: The Luminous Mysteries or The Mysteries of Light. These beautiful scriptural mysteries will on events relating to the showing-forth of Christ as Light of the World and as God's definitive self-revelation.
The mysteries are:
- The Baptism of the Lord
- The Wedding at Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
The Luminous mysteries are offered each Thursday.