QUAERITUR: Rosary during Mass

From a reader:

Is it okay to say the rosary at Low Mass?  My Latin is proficient enough to the point where I’ve moved beyond having to rely on a missal.  What would be the harm of saying a rosary as a meditation on Jesus through Mary?  At Dialogue Mass I always stop my rosary when I say the server’s responses.  I don’t understand why some people are very much against people praying rosaries at Masses.  Some even say that bringing a rosary to Mass scandalizes others!  I think that private devotions can also bring a person closer to the sacrifice.    


I don’t think saying the Holy Rosary during Mass is a bad thing.

I think there are more perfect ways of participating.  I generally think that remaining in the texts of Mass is better during Mass.

But, that said, there is not simply one acceptable manner of active participation at Mass.  People can choose now this, now that method.  You can following the texts closely.  You can follow commentaries on the parts of Mass, sometimes in hand missals.  You can say the Rosary.  You can pray according to the four classic points of prayer: glorification of God, prayers of sorrow for sins, petitions, expressions of thanksgiving.  You can focus on a sacred image.

Perhaps on this day you will need this method, and on that day some other.

What I would try to avoid is distraction.  Your fruitful participation can be aided by having a regular routine, or even perhaps a bit of a plan before you go to church for Mass.  Knowing what you are going to do today can help.

People have different spiritual needs when they enter the sacred precincts of the church.  Different methods of participation can help them in the exigencies they are facing. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Rellis says:

    This is the best way to look at it. Various levels of participation are all good. It’s just that some are better than others.

    Praying the Mass is best. Praying the Rosary is certainly not bad.

  2. Ioannes Andreades says:

    I respectfully disagree that praying the rosary is a form of “participation” in the mass. Sorry I can’t go along with you on this one, Father.

  3. I agree with Ionnes Andreades. Praying the Rosary is distracting; both for the person praying the Rosary and those nearby–clacking beads on the pews for one thing.

    Haters of the EF often pull out the “back in the days when no one knew what was going at Mass people prayed the Rosary instead” argument to make their “case” against the EF. I don’t think they need anymore ammunition.

    Different subject (and goofy): It is somewhat disconcerting to see so few comments on WDTPRS these days. Everyone must have lost their log in information! I feel so powerful! BWAH-HA-HA!

  4. Cathy: But we can fix that!

  5. Jack Hughes says:

    my two cents

    At the (few) EF Masses I’ve attended I’ve not had the slightest Idea what was going on, I didn’t know where in the liturgy we were until the priest came up to deliver the homily (I don’t have sufficient access to justify investing in my own missal and the ones they provide you with are fiddly) and yet sitting/kneeling in the last pew (where else would a good Catholic be :) ) quitely praying my Rosary I’ve felt closer to God than at any N.O I’ve attended.

  6. quovadis7 says:


    Although praying the Rosary can be quite spiritually edifying to do during Holy Mass, the Church herself has most clearly and often taught that “Praying the Mass” is MUCH better.

    I have a family with my wife and 6 children. For attending the Traditional Latin Mass, we can’t afford to buy 8 copies of full-fledged missals for everyone to use (right now, we have only 3).

    So, on Sundays what we do for those who don’t get to use a complete missal is to use what you call the “fiddly” red Ecclesia Dei missals, and then for completeness I print out several leaflets of the “Propers” prayers which have the Latin-English translations; they are available via the Una Voce Orange County web site ( uvoc.org/Propers/Propers_2009/Propers_Calendar.html ).

    I actually prefer this to using a full-fledged missal, in part because the bulk of paper to hold in my hands during Holy Mass is a LOT less, and also because there is a lot less page flipping back-and-forth.

    BTW, the Ecclesia Dei “red” missals are quite affordable and cost only $6.50; they can be ordered either directly from them ( ecclesiadei.org ) or your local Catholic bookstore.

    Hope that these suggestions are helpful to you and others who balk at the expense of buying full-fledged missals for attending the Traditional Latin Mass….

    Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

    Steve B

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    Steve B

    Its not the expense that bothers me, I’d be happy to shell out 40 quid for a full missal if I had regular access to an EF Parish, unfortunately only 3 parishes in the diocese offer the EF every week (1 every day) and I don’t live near any of them.

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