Objective: Students will learn a brief history about the Rosary, the meaning behind the devotion, and the profound mysteries surrounding it.
The word rosary comes from Latin and means a garland of roses, the rose being one of the flowers used to symbolize the Virgin Mary. If you were to ask what object is most emblematic of Catholics, people would probably say, "The rosary, of course." We’re familiar with the images: the silently moving lips of the old woman fingering her beads; the oversized rosary hanging from the waist of the wimpled nun; more recently, the merely decorative rosary hanging from the rearview mirror.
The rosary is a devotion in honor of the Virgin Mary. It consists of a set number of specific prayers. First are the introductory prayers: one Apostles’ Creed (Credo), one Our Father (the Pater Noster or the Lord’s Prayer), three Hail Mary’s (Ave’s), one Glory Be (Gloria Patri).
It’s commonly said that St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans), instituted the rosary. Not so. Certain parts of the rosary predated Dominic; others arose only after his death.
Centuries before Dominic, monks had begun to recite all 150 psalms on a regular basis. As time went on, it was felt that the lay brothers, known as the conversi, should have some form of prayer of their own. They were distinct from the choir monks, and a chief distinction was that they were illiterate. Since they couldn’t read the psalms, they couldn’t recite them with the monks. They needed an easily remembered prayer.
The prayer first chosen was the Our Father, and, depending on circumstances, it was said either fifty or a hundred times. These conversi used rosaries to keep count, and the rosaries were known then as Paternosters ("Our Fathers").
Both Catholics and non-Catholics, as they learn more about the rosary and make more frequent use of it, come to see how its meditations bring to mind the sweet fragrance not only of the Mother of God, but of Christ himself.
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Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Students
About the instructor
Deacon Keith A. Fournier is first Dean of Students for Catholic Online School and editor-in-chief of Catholic Online (catholic.org), the World's Catholic Library.
Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He is working toward the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is focusing on the teaching of St. John Paul II.
He also holds honorary Doctorates in Humane letters and Divinity (LLD, DD) The Social Teaching of the Christian Church is a division of Moral Theology. Fournier has spent his life and work – in the public square and in ministry – offering authentic, classical and biblically faithful Christian Social Teaching available as leaven to be used for the renewal of human culture.
Attorney Fournier is a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate of many years. He views his vocational calling as “serving at the intersection of faith and culture”, a conviction which flows from his understanding of living the Christian faith as an integrated way of life. He has practiced law for 35 years. During that time he has appeared in multiple cases at the State and Federal level. He also appeared in several cases before the United States Supreme Court on Pro-Life, pro-Family and Religious Liberty concerns.
He served as the founding Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice in the nineteen nineties. He currently serves as Special Counsel to Liberty Counsel. he also serves as the Chief Counsel of the Common Good Legal Defense Fund, a project on the Common Good Foundation.
He has written hundreds of articles on faith, culture and life and eight books. He has also spent his life and ministry in multiple efforts committed to bringing Christians together and healing the wounds of division in the Body of Christ. His work is well known in the broad Christian community.
Deacon Keith Fournier is a married deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. Deacon Fournier and his wife Laurine have raised five children and have seven grandchildren. They reside in Chesapeake,Virginia.
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