Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Procession for Rosary Sunday

The Rosarian's Handbook (1942) describes a procession for Rosary Sunday to be sponsored by the Rosary Altar Society.

Before the procession, the priest blesses the roses with a special blessing. According to the handbook, the blessing, reserved to the Dominican Order, was granted to the Rectors of the Rosary Confraternity. After the blessing, the priest distributes the blessed roses at the communion rail to the members of the Rosary Altar Society and to all the faithful who then venerate the roses. (Or, the Rosary roses are blessed in advance and distributed as dried petals wrapped in special envelopes.)

After the distribution of the roses, the procession begins:
"The cross-bearer and two acolytes head the procession, starting at the main sanctuary gates. They are followed by the choir boys.

"The large banner of the Rosary Altar Society -- carried by an altar boy -- follows the choir.

"Then the children symbolizing living Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Be to the Fathers fall in line after the bearer of the Society banner.

"The Our Father is symbolized by a young man wearing dark clothes with a white shoulder sash imprinted with black lettering 'Our Father'.

"The Hail Mary is symbolized by girls wearing shoulder sashes, imprinted with silver block lettering 'Hail Mary'.

"The 'Glory be to the Father' is symbolized by three baby boys (suggesting Our Lord's words 'whose angels are ever before the face of the Father in heaven'). All three of the children carry on the right shoulder one long white cloth band or ribbon printed in gold lettering 'Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.' Since the Trinity is symbolized by the triangle -- a three-cornered or triangular head crown of gilded material may be worn by each of the boys.

"Either the five mysteries or the entire fifteen mysteries according to local resources are interpreted by small banners ornamented with the particular mystery or gospel scene depicted on a print and surrounded by floral designs. The bottom of each banner should be fringed.

"The Joyful Mysteries carry the white color motif, the Sorrowful Mysteries violet, and the Glorious Mysteries gold.

"Thus the first decade of the Holy Rosary -- the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the ever Blessed Virgin Mary -- would be portrayed in a living way by a child in white dress carrying the processional banner depicting Mary being addressed by the Archangel Gabriel. The banner carrier is followed by one young man with the Our Father imprinted on his white sash.

"Ten girls in white dresses and with white shoulder sashes lettered in silver, 'Hail Mary' typify the decades of ten Hail Marys.

"Following these girls and walking in single file, three baby boys in white suits, holding the white cloth, lettered with the 'Glory be to the Father,' etc., as stated before.

"Each decade follows the same routine. If instead of the children, circumstances favor the use of Rosarian members as symbols of prayer in the living procession of the Most Holy Rosary, this usage will be according to approved tradition.

"The route of the procession is usually around the aisles of the church, although when permitted by public goodwill it may be around the streets of the square on which the church building is located. This matter is left entirely to the discretion of the Rector of the Rosary Confraternity.

"In the last position of the Rosary Procession walks the celebrant wearing surplice, white stole and white cope.

"When the procession is finished the celebrant stands before the step of the Rosary Altar Shrine, and sings:

"V. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo Sacrata.
R. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.
V. Regina Sacratissimi Rosarii, ora pro nobis.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

"OREMUS: Deus, cuius Unigenitus per vitam, mortem et resurrectionem suam nobis salutis aeternae praemia comparavit, concede, quaesumus, ut haec Mysteria Sanctissimo Rosario Beatae Mariae Virginis recolentes: et imitemur quod continent, et quod promittunt assequamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

"The function will then be closed with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and the singing of the Te Deum, or Holy God, We Praise Thy Name."
Dolan, Dominic, O.P. (Ed.); The Rosarian’s Handbook of the Society of the Rosary Altar (Marchbanks Press, New York, 1942), pp. 90-93.

All material from The Rosarian's Handbook used with the kind permission of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.

Caravaggio's, "Madonna of the Rosary" (St. Dominic receiving the Rosary from the Virgin), from Wikimedia Commons. In the public domain.

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