A Guide to the Luminous Mysteries at the Basilica

Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

Rosary Garden

Instituted by Pope John Paul II in 2002 in his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, the Luminous Mysteries, also referred to as the Mysteries of Light, demonstrate the light of God manifested through Jesus. In reflecting on the Luminous Mysteries, we walk through key aspects of Jesus’ ministry and life on earth, meditating on the significance of each for our faith.

The Luminous Mysteries are depicted in the Rosary Walk and Garden and the Our Lady of Pompei Chapel at the Basilica. Planning a visit to the Basilica? We encourage you to walk through the Rosary Garden, a scenic place of prayer featuring all the Mysteries of the Rosary.

First Mystery of Light – Baptism in the Jordan

Jesus’ baptism marked the beginning of his earthly ministry, confirming his identity as the Son of God. As the Holy Spirit descended upon him, the Father declared him to be his beloved Son.

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17

Reflecting on this mystery, pray to remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Wedding at Cana depicted in the Basilica Rosary Garden

Second Mystery of Light – Wedding at Cana

The Wedding at Cana was the first of Jesus’ miracles, demonstrating his power as God and inspiring the disciples in their belief.

When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. – John 2:3, 7-11

Contemplating this mystery, we can rest in the assurance that we have an all-powerful God who is sovereign over our lives.

Proclamation of the Kingdom of God - Our Lady of Pompeii Chapel

Third Mystery of Light – Proclamation of the Kingdom of God

As Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God, he demonstrated his mercy by calling all to repentance.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:14-15

We can be thankful for the grace that God extends to us, repenting of our sins and resting in his mercy.

transfiguration as depicted in the rosary garden

Fourth Mystery of Light – Transfiguration

One day, while Jesus prayed on a mountain, the glory of God shone from his face. In this passage, Peter, James, and John see a glimpse of Jesus’ true glory: God the Son, the beloved Son who reigns eternal, and against whom the gates of Hell shall not prevail.

About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white… Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” – Luke 9:28-29, 30

The holiness of God as displayed in the transfiguration inspires us to pray that we would grow in our sanctification.

Fifth Mystery of Light – Institution of the Eucharist

During the Passover meal with the disciples, Jesus shared bread and wine with them, establishing the sacrament of the Eucharist.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. – Matthew 26:26-28

May we be inspired to respond in gratitude to Christ for his body, broken for us, and his blood, shed for us.

“Let us Pray, O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” – Rosary Prayer

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