Praying the rosary at Mass


#1

In the six years that I have posted on this board, I have seen numerous posts referring to praying the rosary at Mass in a negative light. I have seen it used as a reason justifying the need for a new order of Mass, almost as if praying the rosary at Mass was a form of liturgical abuse. Typically, when one attempts to use this line of reasoning they usually remark that when the Mass was offered exclusively in Latin, many could not understand what was being said and their only alternative was to take out their rosaries and pray. Although that is not the topic I’m particularly addressing, I can tell you from experience that when I made my First Communion at seven years of age I did not speak or read Latin. But I completely understood what was happening at Mass. I knew the English translations of the prayers that were being said aloud and sotta voce, and I knew what the responses that I gave at Mass in Latin meant in English. My parents and grandparents who emigrated from Italy also knew these same things in their native language and eventually in English also. Nobody fretted about not understanding the Mass and was thus relegated to private devotions.

I frequently pray the rosary during Mass (as I did at Mass this morning). Sometimes I am moved to say the actual prayers that the priest is praying from my missal during the Offertory and Canon. Other times, I do not open my missal because I am moved to pray the rosary while meditating on Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. I will typically suspend my rosary for the parts of the Mass that are prayed out loud and also to make my commemorations for the living and dead during the canon. However, I find it particularly moving for myself when I use the rosary as a meditative avenue to assisting at Mass. It brings the sacrifice and oblation into a sublime focus for me and does not detract or distract me from the miracle taking place.

Praying the rosary during Mass has become sort of an anti-Latin-Mass talking point but please don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Many faithful have been doing it for centuries, and not out of frustration.


#2

I know that one poster here who not in the "trad" camp has praised the practice of praying the Rosary at Mass.

Not long ago I went to my parish's First Saturday Mass in the EF and only had a Sunday missal so I said my Rosary as it seems very fitting at Our Lady's Mass. I think it's a fine practice.


#3

I was posting this on another thread as you were creating this one: :D
Historically since the Mass is a prayer and not a Protestant-like "service", people's understanding of every word and gesture the priest gave was not important to them. In fact, Catholics 1000 years ago would have looked very confused if you wanted a complete translation of the Mass. Silence was also a major part of the Mass and considered very important. If one chose to pray during those "silent" parts they were many times encouraged to.
It irritates me when I hear modern Catholics say things like "those little old ladies who prayed the Rosary during Mass......." As if they were doing something wrong. The Mass was and is a prayer, praying is to be encouraged. When the priest prays toward the Tabernacle the people pray with him.
In fact, I'll have to look it up, but I don't think handmissals were even used until the 19th century.


#4

[quote="Rich_C, post:2, topic:285713"]
I know that one poster here who not in the "trad" camp has praised the practice of praying the Rosary at Mass.

Not long ago I went to my parish's First Saturday Mass in the EF and only had a Sunday missal so I said my Rosary as it seems very fitting at Our Lady's Mass. I think it's a fine practice.

[/quote]

:confused: Our Lady's Mass???


#5

Sure, attending the liturgy is prayer. And personally: i like to focus on God and the prayer. But where i go, no one prays a rosary (or chotki). The pay attention to the liturgy and praise
God.


#6

The Hail mary would be obviously recommended for any Catholic. Whether it should or should not be allowed, or said, during Mass, I don't know. Here's the V2 teaching on liturgy and participation. Much more ovbviously, is contained in the documents.

Vatican 2
SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM
Chapter 1 Sec 2

II. The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation

  1. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.


#7

[quote="Padraig1972, post:5, topic:285713"]
Sure, attending the liturgy is prayer. And personally: i like to focus on God and the prayer. But where i go, no one prays a rosary (or chotki). The pay attention to the liturgy and praise
God.

[/quote]

My exact point was that paying attention to Mass, praising, and praying the chotki are not mutually exclusive.


#8

[quote="giuseppeTO, post:7, topic:285713"]
My exact point was that paying attention to Mass, praising, and praying the chotki are not mutually exclusive.

[/quote]

Yes they are. The reason it is called a Liturgy because it is a "work of the people". If the people are not paying attention and participating directly, then it is just work of the priest and the people are there just to warm up the church.


#9

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:8, topic:285713"]
Yes they are. The reason it is called a Liturgy because it is a "work of the people". If the people are not paying attention and participating directly, then it is just work of the priest and the people are there just to warm up the church.

[/quote]

What is the limit of "participating directly," do you suppose?

What if I prayed each mystery of the Rosary for the intention of the prayer father was making at the altar? Wouldn't that be participating directly?


#10

[quote="clem456, post:6, topic:285713"]
The Hail mary would be obviously recommended for any Catholic. Whether it should or should not be allowed, or said, during Mass, I don't know. Here's the V2 teaching on liturgy and participation. Much more ovbviously, is contained in the documents.

Vatican 2
SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM
Chapter 1 Sec 2

II. The Promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation

  1. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

[/quote]

I guess I would challenge the notion that the full and active participation which SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM speaks of is somehow exclusive of saying the rosary as being less than full or active. Perhaps we have gone overboard in our interpretation of what the council fathers intended if we, for instance, make the assumption that full and active participation means loud (i.e., above a whisper and non-meditative), constant, and specifically interactive with others (as in sharing a sign of peace and holding hands during the Pater).


#11

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:8, topic:285713"]
Yes they are. The reason it is called a Liturgy because it is a "work of the people". If the people are not paying attention and participating directly, then it is just work of the priest and the people are there just to warm up the church.

[/quote]

The priest is offering the sacrifice and we are assisting at Mass with our prayers. If we are not paying attention, then that is a problem. If you are praying, you are participating as directly as you can. If you are saying that unless you can hear me praying, I am not participating directly, then I disagree with you.


#12

[quote="giuseppeTO, post:10, topic:285713"]
I guess I would challenge the notion that the full and active participation which SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM speaks of is somehow exclusive of saying the rosary as being less than full or active. Perhaps we have gone overboard in our interpretation of what the council fathers intended if we, for instance, make the assumption that full and active participation means loud (i.e., above a whisper and non-meditative), constant, and specifically interactive with others (as in sharing a sign of peace and holding hands during the Pater).

[/quote]

Well then you'd have to get involved in semantics and interpretations of commonly used words like "liturgy, active, fully conscious", and I won't go down that road.


#13

[quote="giuseppeTO, post:1, topic:285713"]
In the six years that I have posted on this board, I have seen numerous posts referring to praying the rosary at Mass in a negative light. I have seen it used as a reason justifying the need for a new order of Mass, almost as if praying the rosary at Mass was a form of liturgical abuse. Typically, when one attempts to use this line of reasoning they usually remark that when the Mass was offered exclusively in Latin, many could not understand what was being said and their only alternative was to take out their rosaries and pray. Although that is not the topic I’m particularly addressing, I can tell you from experience that when I made my First Communion at seven years of age I did not speak or read Latin. But I completely understood what was happening at Mass. I knew the English translations of the prayers that were being said aloud and sotta voce, and I knew what the responses that I gave at Mass in Latin meant in English. My parents and grandparents who emigrated from Italy also knew these same things in their native language and eventually in English also. Nobody fretted about not understanding the Mass and was thus relegated to private devotions.

I frequently pray the rosary during Mass (as I did at Mass this morning). Sometimes I am moved to say the actual prayers that the priest is praying from my missal during the Offertory and Canon. Other times, I do not open my missal because I am moved to pray the rosary while meditating on Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. I will typically suspend my rosary for the parts of the Mass that are prayed out loud and also to make my commemorations for the living and dead during the canon. However, I find it particularly moving for myself when I use the rosary as a meditative avenue to assisting at Mass. It brings the sacrifice and oblation into a sublime focus for me and does not detract or distract me from the miracle taking place.

Praying the rosary during Mass has become sort of an anti-Latin-Mass talking point but please don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Many faithful have been doing it for centuries, and not out of frustration.

[/quote]

I sometimes pray too.


#14

Thanks for this. I think I understand a bit better. I do a meditative rosary too at times, just never thought of doing it during Mass. I always assumed (remember I was a child/teenager) that people just did that to fill time while they met their Mass obligation. My bad! I was also, and still am, kind of rigid in that I like to do things the hard way. The hard way for me was trying to learn enough Latin to participate in the Mass. I erred in trying to foist that point of view on others.


#15

[quote="clem456, post:12, topic:285713"]
Well then you'd have to get involved in semantics and interpretations of commonly used words like "liturgy, active, fully conscious", and I won't go down that road.

[/quote]

Agreed. It would very subjective.


#16

[quote="Ohana, post:14, topic:285713"]
Thanks for this. I think I understand a bit better. I do a meditative rosary too at times, just never thought of doing it during Mass. I always assumed (remember I was a child/teenager) that people just did that to fill time while they met their Mass obligation. My bad! I was also, and still am, kind of rigid in that I like to do things the hard way. The hard way for me was trying to learn enough Latin to participate in the Mass. I erred in trying to foist that point of view on others.

[/quote]

That's a beautiful way to assist at Mass, also. I've inadvertedly gained a lot of hearing comprehension of Latin because I pray the 1960 Office in Latin, and the Mass is largely a collection of psalm excerpts, so I recognize things.


#17

[quote="Rich_C, post:16, topic:285713"]
That's a beautiful way to assist at Mass, also. I've inadvertedly gained a lot of hearing comprehension of Latin because I pray the 1960 Office in Latin, and the Mass is largely a collection of psalm excerpts, so I recognize things.

[/quote]

I have taught myself Latin, studied the rubrics, prayed the 1960 office. I've served low and sung and solemn Masses. I could translate the Ordinary into English pretty easily by now. Probably the propers for most days as well. I could even "celebrate" Mass externally, obviously it would not be valid, but I know what to do and when.

I still will continue to pray the rosary at Mass sometimes.

Praying the rosary at Mass comes from love, devotion, a desire to meditate and enter into the Mass in an intimate way. It's not a backup plan for illiterates. It's really good for me especially since, as you can tell from the way I started this post, I'm a nerd and quite overly intellectual. The rosary at Mass helps me focus on God and the Sacrifice, and think less about the aesthetics or the linguistics of the prayers, which is a risk for me.

Anyway, participation in the Mass is supposed to be full, conscious and active right?

Full: When I pray the rosary I'm thinking about Calvary and the Mass, and I'm not thinking about food, or sleep, or a problem at work. The rosary helps full participation.

Conscious: I can't pray the rosary sleeping. I'm thinking and meditating quite a bit.

Active: No one's praying the rosary at me. I'm praying it. I'm entering with Our Lady into the mystery happening on the altar.

A final note about full, conscious and active: this is great when properly understood, but we should never forgot that even if no one else is there, the priest offers the Mass truly and perfectly because it is really Our Lord who is the priest. Whether we participate vocally, or meditately, spoken, or with song, those gestures are for our benefit but not necessary for the sacrifice.

Also: anyone opposed to the Rosary at Mass should read Mediator Dei (Pius XII). Tell me how Vatican II nullifies anything in that beautiful document.


#18

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:8, topic:285713"]
Yes they are. The reason it is called a Liturgy because it is a "work of the people". If the people are not paying attention and participating directly, then it is just work of the priest and the people are there just to warm up the church.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

And actually, praying the rosary during mass could be considered a liturgical abuse because you are adding your own private devotion to the Mass. What's the difference between praying the rosary and holding your hands in the orans position during the Our Father? Maybe that person is charismatic and they normally pray with their arms extended like that. There's nothing wrong with using that position for prayer outside of Mass.

But we still say that it shouldn't be done during Mass because there are rubrics covering not just what the priest does, but also what the laity do.

The rosary is a private devotion, and should be done on private time (as in not during public worship, which is what the Mass is). The Mass is given to us by the Church as is, meaning that neither the priest nor the laity can add or subtract anything from it.

If you're busy praying the rosary, are you really paying attention to what's going on? Fully and actively? How can you listen to Jesus as the Word when you're not paying full attention? Or the homily, as explaining the Word to us? Even the hymns and chants are a part of our public and communal worship. If you're busy praying the rosary, you mine as well not even be there because you're separating yourself from the community.


#19

[quote="curlycool89, post:18, topic:285713"]
But we still say that it shouldn't be done during Mass because there are rubrics covering not just what the priest does, but also what the laity do.

[/quote]

As an aside, there are no such rubrics for the laity in the traditional mass.

The rosary is a private devotion, and should be done on private time (as in not during public worship, which is what the Mass is). The Mass is given to us by the Church as is, meaning that neither the priest nor the laity can add or subtract anything from it.

Praying the rosary during mass isn't adding anything to the mass.

If you're busy praying the rosary, are you really paying attention to what's going on? Fully and actively?

I don't see why not.

How can you listen to Jesus as the Word when you're not paying full attention? Or the homily, as explaining the Word to us?

It is a simple matter to interrupt the rosary during the readings or homily.

Even the hymns and chants are a part of our public and communal worship. If you're busy praying the rosary, you mine as well not even be there because you're separating yourself from the community.

You have a defective notion of participation at mass.


#20

[quote="Ohana, post:14, topic:285713"]
Thanks for this. I think I understand a bit better. I do a meditative rosary too at times, just never thought of doing it during Mass. I always assumed (remember I was a child/teenager) that people just did that to fill time while they met their Mass obligation. My bad! I was also, and still am, kind of rigid in that I like to do things the hard way. The hard way for me was trying to learn enough Latin to participate in the Mass. I erred in trying to foist that point of view on others.

[/quote]

It took me a long time to get this as well, so don't feel bad. Our 20th century thinking has swept away centuries of practice.
Meditation is a lost exercise today. Silence as well. Silence is the most effective expression of the reverance due to God during His Mass. People today seem to have an unholy fear of silence. Maybe because it is in silence that we are most likely to meet God.
"Be still and know that I am God".


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