In the neighbourhoods worst hit by the pandemic, when public worship was suspended, many Christians turned to the Rosary Prayer.
The People's Rosary Project is sharing their experience and insights, as we prepare for a very different Advent and Christmas.
On this webpage, they introduce the Rosary Prayer to us. Each week in Advent, we will hear their reflections on different Mystery of the Rosary - each one based on a passage from the Scriptures relating to Jesus' birth and childhood.
The first of these reflections - on the Mystery of the Annunciation - is now online.
The Rosary Prayer is centred on Christ. As we pray, we stand with his Mother meditating on the Mysteries at the heart of the Gospel...
...the Joyful Mysteries of Jesus' conception, birth and childhood
...the Luminous Mysteries of his earthly ministry
...the Sorrowful Mysteries of his arrest, suffering and death
...the Glorious Mysteries of his resurrection and the new life it brings to Mary and all who believe.
St Luke tells us that Mary "treasured these things in her heart." In the Rosary, we join with her to "treasure" all that God has done for us.
Why have people turned to the Rosary in the middle of this pandemic?
Manor Park was one of the neighbourhoods worst affected by the pandemic. Susan Greaves explains why so many parishioners turned to the Rosary in the midst of the lockdown.
At this time, it gives a lot of comfort
Caroline was on a training course in community organising when the pandemic began. She used these skills to start an online Rosary Group in Manor Park.
Isn't the Rosary all about Mary?
How does it draw us to Christ?
Frankie Webster, the community organiser who trained Caroline, explains what she learnt from the Manor Park group.
"The Rosary is the life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary."
Isn't the Rosary too repetitive?
Rámond Mitchell, Parish Liturgist at St George-in-the-East, describes how he rediscovered the Rosary as a student, after praying it as a child.
I'm struggling to pray at all.
How might the Rosary help me?
As a young nun, Sister Josephine was struggling to pray. Listen to her testimony on the way the Rosary rekindled her devotional life.
I thought, I feel very poor and small, so let me take this as the process of my prayer
I've never prayed the Rosary.
How do I start?
Fr Ray Warren introduces the prayer in this video.
There is also a simple guide to praying the Rosary here
Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route.
The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope.
Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way.
Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us? With her “yes” she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!
Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi
An invitation to pray
Whether or not you have prayed the Rosary before, we invite you to pray it now - and to listen to this video of the Salve Regina, recorded online during the pandemic, as the closing prayer.
If you would like to pray the Rosary in an online group this Advent, email peoplesrosary [at] theology-centre.org
Click here for reflections from Susan Graves, Marzena Cichon Balcerowicz and Sister Julienne on the first Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: the Annunciation (Luke 1.26-38).
We are grateful for the support of the Lady Peel Trust in developing this project.