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Pope John Paul II and the rosary

Pope John Paul II “wanted so much for the family, the young, the sick and elderly, deacons and priests and bishops to learn and adopt his new method of praying the rosary so that the rosary would be come more of a contemplative prayer and therein have its true beauty and depth discovered,” author and educator Robert Feeney wrote in a recent note to CNS.

He wanted to make us aware rosaryof a new book he has written, “The Rosary: The John Paul II Method,” released by Aquinas Press and distributed by Ignatius Press. He covers the history of the rosary; writings about Mary by Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict XVI; Our Lady of Fatima and the rosary; and the mysteries of the rosary. But the book’s centerpiece is how Pope John Paul recited the rosary, including his suggestion that after each mystery, a person used a picture or icon to “open up a scenario,” to visualize being part of that mystery.

The pope also suggested a person pray for a virtue with each mystery and pause briefly to meditate “on the word of God and the content of the mystery.”

“The pope always saw the young as the future and hope of the church and wanted to, in spirit, pass the rosary beads on to them,” said Feeney. He added that during the Year of the Rosary, declared by the late pope from October 2002 to October 2003, Feeney taught his own students how the pope prayed the rosary. “They were very impressed with the contemplative dimension and interjections of silence,” he said.

Feeney said he wrote the book because he wants to help the young to discover the rosary to help them “in their trials and tribulations,” like it did for him as a young man serving in the Vietnam War.  He was seriously wounded and nearly died, he said, but he called on Mary, whom he credits for his recovery. 

Feeney’s book on the pope and the rosary follows an earlier one he wrote titled “The Catholic Ideal: Exercise & Sports.” He has been told that it’s being used as a textbook in the PE department at some Catholic colleges and universities.