“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
Praying the Rosary has long been a beloved Catholic practice, undertaken by the faithful to strengthen their devotion through reflection on the birth, life, sacrifice, and resurrection of our Lord. These profound mysteries of our salvation – the mysteries of the Rosary – are grouped into the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries. Each of these mysteries is honored in the Basilica’s art and architecture in breathtaking detail. Today, we invite you to reflect on the mysteries and explore these spaces virtually.
Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary
The Joyful Mysteries capture the jubilance of the Messiah’s birth and early life. You can find them depicted in the Basilica in the Great Upper Church and in the Rosary Walk and Garden. The Joyful Mysteries consist of the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, and the Finding in the Temple. In the portrayals of the Joyful Mysteries in the Great Upper Church, each mystery is portrayed alongside its Old Testament parallel.
The Luminous Mysteries
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. By 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. They include Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan, the Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist.
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
The Sorrowful Mysteries provide the opportunity to meditate on the events leading up to Christ’s death. Each of these mysteries has a parallel in the Old Testament, illuminating the cohesiveness of Scripture throughout the ages. The Sorrowful Mysteries include the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion. Each mystery is portrayed in the Basilica in the Sorrowful Mysteries Chapels and the Rosary Walk and Garden.
The Glorious Mysteries
The final mysteries of the Rosary are the Glorious Mysteries, which celebrate Christ’s triumph over sin and death, rejoicing in the new life that we have been given. These mysteries include the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption of Mary, and the Coronation of Mary. Like the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries, the portrayals of the Glorious Mysteries in the Great Upper Church show each mystery alongside its Old Testament parallel.
Basilica Guide and Tour Book, Dr. Geraldine Rohling