Rosary unites a family

As a Catholic from India who belongs to a 2000 year old history since Thomas the Apostle landed on the shores of Kerala in AD 52, the best image that comes to my mind is my parents reciting Rosary every evening and we children sitting around them at home.

Rosary unites a family

By Joe Palathunkal
“How beautiful is the family that recites the Rosary every evening.” One of the greatest Popes in history John Paul II has spoken this and it establishes the paramount importance of Rosary in the life of a Catholic family, beyond any pale of doubt.

As a Catholic from India who belongs to a 2000 year old history since Thomas the Apostle landed on the shores of Kerala in AD 52, the best image that comes to my mind is my parents reciting Rosary every evening and we children sitting around them at home. There was hardly any compromise on this evening family devotion. Definitely, it gave us a sense of unity centered around the life of Jesus and Mother Mary, “Our tainted nature’s solitary boast,” as Wordsworth reminds us about this loving and caring mother.

The history of the rosary or the praying on the knotted ropes might have started from the Desert Fathers in 3rd century AD but it became a historically robust one when a German theologian Andreas Heinz from Trier discovered vitae Christi Rosarium (Life of Jesus Rosary) dating back to 1300 AD. Some say Mother Mary appeared to Saint Dominic, the founder of Dominican Order, and gave a Rosary to pray which was later promoted by Blessed Allan de la Roche.

However, the modern devotion to the Rosary started with a victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the victory is attributed to the praying of Rosary by masses of Europeans. Reaffirming this Venetian Senators declared after the war: “It was not courage, not arms, not leaders, but Mary of the Rosary that made us victors.”

It is said Mother Mary liked roses and therefore, the word rosary came from the Latin rosarium or rose garden. And there are different mysteries for the varying days of the week:

  • Monday and Saturday : Joyful Mysteries
  • Tuesday and Friday : Sorrowful Mysteries
  • Wednesday and Sunday : Glorious Mysteries
  • Thursday : Mysteries of Light or Luminous Mysteries


Apart from this, there is a Mercy Mystery for the remission of the sins of the world. It was Pope John Paul II who introduced the Mysteries of Light in 2002 through the Apostolic letter on the Rosary – Rosarium Virginis Mariae. Pope John Paul II had great devotion to Mother Mary and attributes his escaping alive to Mary after the fatal gunshot on him by a fanatic.

Personally, I have great devotion to the Rosary and as a family we pray the Rosary daily without fail and I believe Mother Mary blesses us abundantly. My role model for daily rosary today is my sister Mary and her husband George Punnanchira who recite their Rosary as a family every day evening at 7: 30 sharp which will last for an hour.

Today their son and my nephew Father Sebastian Punnanchira CMI is a parish Priest at Trier, Germany, where Andreas Heinz discovered vitae Christi Rosarium. Is it a coincidence, I don’t know. But one thing is obvious to me – there is tremendous unity in their family between parents and children, and among all the five children.

Let us remember what Pope Francis said when we recite the Rosary: “May Mary’s pure and simple smile be a source of joy for each one of us as we face life’s difficulties.”

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living In Faith)

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