Need fast etiquette help regarding Catholic funeral and rosary

rosemarytNovember 23, 2010

A dear friend died Sunday and she was a devout Catholic. Her "rosary" service is tonight and the visitation is after the rosary. I thought the rosary was a prayer and I also know about rosary beads, but what is a rosary service? How long does it last? And is it a full mass or what?

I know *nothing* about Catholic services and tradition. Would be grateful for a little help.

Thanks in advance.


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A Rosary Service is a group recitation of the Rosary.
It takes about twenty minutes.The group gathered is led in the recitation by one person or some times a few, the rest of the group follow along reciting the second half of each prayer.

The service is open to all. Even if you are not Catholic you may attend and either follow along or quietly mediate during this portion of the visitation. Your presence without reciting the rosary is perfectly acceptable.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 6:09AM
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A prayer is said for each bead of the rosary....resulting in nearly 60 prayers. I've sat through slow rosaries and fast ones...depends on the rate of speed of the speaker.

If the rosary service is, say, at 7pm...and you want to skip it, you could arrive at 7:30 for the visitation and be just fine.

Sorry about the loss of your friend.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 7:46AM
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Since you are not a Catholic, it would be most respectful to attend the rosary service but not say the prayers along with the rest of the participants. (Yes, it will be boring-maybe 30-45 minutes) I once attended a Jewish funeral service and merely sat quietly among the worshippers. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 8:28AM
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Wildchild's explanation was right on.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 9:57AM
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Umm, at least here in the bay area, California, Rosaries have changed. Rather than recite the rosary as has been traditional, these are almost like pre-funeral services where the presider and others speak about the departed; I'm not sure why this has come about. I grew up (as a Catholic,) with the traditional version but in the last ten years or so the ones I've attended have been the newer services.

I'm sorry to disagree, but if it is a traditional Rosary and the decades are recited, I see absolutely nothing wrong with anyone and everyone joining in with the prayers, if you want to. Why not?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 11:55AM
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Sorry, I forgot to address your other questions. No, it is never a Mass, and usually lasts anywhere from half an hour to an hour, if the eulogies are long-ish. Everyone sits the whole time, except perhaps when the priest enters. There is often music.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 11:59AM
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To amplify just a bit...
The funeral basically has three parts - the Vigil for the Deceased (really, a wake); the Funeral Mass or the Funeral Liturgy outside Mass; and the Rite of Burial.

The tradition of reciting the Rosary at a wake is something very common among the Polish, Italian, and Irish.

I'm not sure it's strictly an ethic tradition, but my family is Polish from time immemorial, and the funeral "package", if you will, always includes a rosary service to pray for the repose of the soul of the departed.
Join in - you might not know the Apostles' Creed or the Hail Marys, but the Our Father is likely known.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 12:55PM
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Interesting differences....last week,, I attended a Visitiaion with Rosary Service and a Deacon lead the congregation in The Apostles Creed, one Our Father and then just one decade recited. No eulogies.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 2:35PM
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The only thing a non-Catholic should not do in a Cathloic church is take communion. There are huge theological differences among other Christian churches and the Catholic curch regarding the body of christ. I was once at a Catholic funeral mass where the priest explained it all.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 6:48PM
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