Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rosary Blessings and Indulgences

As this is the month of the Most Holy Rosary, I have been asked to post something about the blessing of the Rosary and the spiritual benefits granted to those using it.

Until the promulgation of Inter Oecumenici in 1964, the blessing of Rosaries was a reserved blessing, and only priests of the Dominican Order could bless them. That is why the older Roman Rituals did not contain a blessing for Rosaries. Today any priest or deacon may bless a Rosary using formulas in use from 1964 to 1984 or the formula found in the new Liber Benedictionum of 1984 (LB 506):

May this Rosary and the one who uses it be blessed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.

Dominican priests, however, may wish to use the blessings proper to our order. The first of these is a longer formula which is especially suitable when blessing Rosaries for members of the Rosary Confraternity:


Sacerdos stolam albam deferens, dicit:

V/. Adiutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.
R/. Qui fecit cælum et terram.
V/. Dóminus vobísum.
R/. Et cum spíritu tuo.

Omnípotens et miséricors Deus, qui proper exímiam caritátem tuam qua dilexísti nos, Fílium tuum unigénitum, Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum de cælis in terram descéndere, et de beatíssimæ Vírginis Maríæ Dóminæ nostræ útero sacratíssimo, Angelo nuntiánte, carnem suscípere, crucémque ac mortem subíre, et tértia die glorióse a mórtuis resúrgere voluísti, ut nos eríperes de potestátem diáboli: obsecrámus imménsam cleméntiam tuam ut hæc signa (vel hoc signum) Rosárii in honórem et laudem eiúsdem Genetrícis Fílii tui ab Ecclésia tua fidéli dicáta (vel dicátum) bene- + dícas et sanctí- + fices, eísque (vel eíque) tantam infúndas virtútem Spíritus + Sancti, ut quicúmque horum quódlibet (vel hoc) secum portáverit, atque in domo sua revénter tenúerit, et in eis (vel eo) ad te, secúndum huius sanctæ Societátis institúta, divina contemplándo mystéria, devóte oráverit, salúbri et perseveránti devotióne abúndet, sitque consors et párticeps ómnium gratiárum, privilegiórum et indulgentiárum, quæ eídem Societáti per Sanctam Sedem Apostólicam concéssa fuérunt, ab omni hoste visíbli et invisíbili semper et ubíque in hoc sculo liberétur, et in éxitu suo ab ipsa beatíssima Vírgine María Dei Genetríce tibi plenus bonis opéribus præsentári mereátur. Per eúndem Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte eiúsdem Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia saecula sæculórum. R/. Amen.

Aspergantur aqua benedicta.

Here is the approved translation into English prepared by the Irish Dominican Sisters for the Appendix of the English translation of the Dominican Breviary:


The priest wears a white stole, and says:

V/. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R/. Who made heaven and earth.
V/. The Lord be with you.
R/. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God, on account of your very great love for us, you willed that your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, should come down from heaven to earth, and at the angel's message take flesh in the most sacred womb of Our Lady, the most blessed Virgin Mary, submit to death on the cross, and then rise gloriously from the dead on the third day, in order to deliver us from Satan's tyranny. We humbly beg you, in your boundless goodness to bless + and to sanctify + these rosaries, which your faithful Church has consecrated to the honor and praise of the Mother of your Son. Let them be endowed with such power of the Holy Spirit, that whoever carries one on his person or reverently keeps one in his home, or devoutly prays to you while meditating on the divine mysteries, according to the rules of his holy society, may fully share in all the graces, privileges and indulgences which the Holy See has granted to this society. May he always and everywhere be shielded from all enemies, visible and invisible, and at his death deserve to be presented to you by the most blessed Virgin Mary herself, Mother of God. Through the our same Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. R/. Amen.

They are then sprinkled with Holy Water.

When the blessing is not done for members of the Confraternity or when brevity is more suitable, the shorter formula may be used:


Ad laudem et glóriam Deíparæ Vírginis Maríæ, in memóriam mysteriórum vitæ, mortis et resurrectiónis eiúsdem Dómini nostri Iesu Christi, bene- + dicátur et sancti- + ficétur hæc sacratíssimi Rosárii coróna: in nómine Patris + et Fílii, et Spíritus Sancti. R/. Amen.

Si plura sint rosaria benedicenda, formula pronuniatur in plurali. Stola et aqua bendicta ad libitum.

Again, the official translation of 1967:


To the honor and glory of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, in memory of the mysteries of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, the same Jesus Christ, may this crown of the most holy Rosary be blessed + and sanctified + in the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.

If several Rosaries are blessed the plural is used; use of stole and holy water are optional.


Since mention was made in the longer blessing of the indulgences attached to the Rosary and to the privileges of members of the Rosary Confraternity, readers may be interested in this. With the publication of the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum in 1968, all general indulgences previously granted were terminated and replaced by those contained in that book. The indulgences attached to the Holy Rosary are:

1. A plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions, to those who recite five decades of the Rosary in a church, or in a public oratory, or with a family group, religious community, or pious association. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted. (EI 48)

2. A partial indulgence is granted to those who use a Rosary blessed by a priest, even if five decades are not recited. The indulgence is plenary on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, if the blessing was performed by the pope or a bishop. (following EI 35)


The publication of the Enchiridion also abolished all indulgences granted to particular organizations or individuals unless they formally petitioned to have these reconfirmed. The Rosary Confraternity did so petition, and the following plenary indulgences are granted to enrolled members when they recite five decades of the Rosary, even if not in a church or with a group:

1. On anniversary of the member's day of enrollment. (When application is made, a certificate of membership is sent, indicating the day of the enrollment.)

2. On the following feast days: Christmas, Easter, Annunciation, Purification, Assumption, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Immaculate Conception.

More information the Rosary is available at the Rosary Center Website.

If you are interested in joining, click here for on-line registration in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary.

The forms for Dominican blessings of the Rosary are now available in downloadable form on the left sidebar under "texts."


Anonymous said...

Can this blessing still be used by Dominicans or are they replaced by newer ones from the Book of Blessings?

bedwere said...

Father, what if I am the only one praying the Rosary in the church? Does that qualify for the planary indulgence?

Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. said...

Jack, Yes, Dominicans can use this blessing.

Bedwere, Yes, the terms of the indulgence currently in force is that a plenary is granted to anyone saying the Rosary in a church or public oratory. I thought I said that.

Tom said...

I had my rosary blessed by a older Dominican priest four or five years ago, who gave it what he called the A-B-C-D blessings. The "D" was the Dominican blessing. The others may have been Augustinian, Benedictine, and Carmelite; something like that, at any rate.

I've got the rosary in my pocket now, and I aten't dead, so it didn't not work.

Matthew Schellhorn said...

Father Augustine

Thank you for this tremendous post!

I have some questions and observations!

1) On the Rosary Confraternity website it says the plenary indulgence is for the "day of enrollment", not "[o]n anniversary of the member's day of enrollment"... Is what you have put sourced from somewhere other than ?

2) When you say "[t]he Rosary Confraternity did so petition", is this because the indulgences appear on the website? Or do you know more references? It would be great to know more.

3) The ABCD blessing referred to by "tom" must be Apostolic, Benedictine, Crozier and Dominican. Do we know more about these other blessings, and whether they can still be conferred, and whether anyone has the faculty nowadays to do so?

Finally, I am starting a new Rosary blog: it is at

I joined the other day and want to get online as much as I can find about the beautiful Rosary! I shall start with information taken from a book I am reading The Rosary by Rev F. John Leather, O.P. This amazing book has so many details about the Rosary, and a list of the former indulgences won't hurt anyone!

As a taster: go there for information about what happens to the blessing when beads are lost, what constitutes a Rosary, and which churches in the UK used to have their own Rosary ledgers...!

Anonymous said...


1. Since one cannot get an indulgence without explicitly intending it (and you cannot do so retroactively), I assumed that this was like the grants for the indulgence on the feasts. You might contact the center directly about this.

2. I was told that they so petitioned by a former director of the Center--I did not ask to see the documents.

3. I have never heard of the ABCD blessing. All I can say is there is no specially indulgenced blessing unique to Dominicans today. Of course any priest, including a Dominican, can give the Apostolic Blessing in danger of death.

Matthew Schellhorn said...

Father, thanks for your reply.

I shall indeed contact the Centre for some details about official documentation, waiting first of all for my certificate (and other information?) to come through the post...

I shall try to find out about the other blessings, too, if only for purely historical reasons.

If you visit my blog, I have put up some information that applies to the old Dominican blessing that might be of interest.

Unknown said...


I am searching for Holy Rosary Manual in Latin with holy pictures of the 15 Decades, and the meditations and readings associated with each decade.

Was there ever any formal Latin Rosary Book for the Dominican Order?

Also have you have seen a Latin Rosary Chant Book for singing?

I found this book:

It has a lot of Latin, but I like the intentions that St. Louis Marie de Montfort mentioned uniquely associated for each mystery and how we should ask God for the incease of these graces.

I prefer some official book that used in the Priories of the Order of Preachers. There must be some book?

owenswain said...
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Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. said...

Dear Owen,

There are no longer any blessings reserved to members of the religious orders. Those "privileges" were abolished in the 1965 legislation on indulgences. Any priest can give this blessing today. And under Summorum Pontificum, of course, this old form may be used by any priest.

owenswain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.