There have been a number of occasions on which members of our Anglican Catholic community have commented, both online and off, about the ‘Anglican Rosary’, or Anglican prayer beads, and whether members of the ordinariates pray it.
It seems there are very few of us who do, but the reason for this is likely nothing other than that few of us prayed it even as Anglicans.
The so-called ‘Anglican prayer beads’ consist of a chaplet of four groupings of seven beads called ‘weeks’, separated by four ‘cruciform’ beads (so named because of the cross shape they form in this arrangement), and prefaced by a cross or crucifix and an invitatory bead.
Because this is a relatively recent innovation in the Anglican world (it seems to be no older than the Anglican Use liturgical provision in the Catholic Church), there is no long history of use, nor an established or authoritative manner of praying it. This has led to some rather humorous takes on attempts at adopting this devotion.
Some Anglicans use the Jesus Prayer for the small beads and the Trisagion for the big beads. Another proposal uses the Agnus Dei. (Although, as found in these schemes, it would be rather unfortunate to avoid a Hail Mary in a devotional nicknamed ‘rosary’). Another suggestion online proposes praying St Patrick’s Breastplate with Anglican prayer beads. Other people doubtless have different prayer customs, and of course one can always simply use the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be.
Some Catholics, however, have objected to the ‘Anglican Rosary’, seeing it as nothing more than an avoidance of the more renowned Marian alternative, the common rosary used by hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world, sometimes also known as the ‘Dominican Rosary’. As Anglicans, most of us who prayed the rosary prayed this commonly known Catholic version, the Dominican one. We did so, however, in a distinctively Anglican way. (And there is another patrimonial form of this common Rosary from our Sarum heritage, which can be found in the update below.)
So I would suggest that, if anything is to be considered truly the ‘Anglican Rosary’, it is simply the common Dominican rosary as used by Anglo-Catholics, with customary Anglican forms of the constituent prayers:
In the + Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
I don’t think we should reject the otherwise so-called ‘Anglican Rosary’, but before seeking any hearty ecclesiastical endorsement of it, it might be prudent to wait upon its natural, organic adoption by the Anglican Catholic faithful of the ordinariates. What might it take to establish this other ‘Anglican Rosary’ as a commonly-prayed devotion?
It is a question of holiness. If saints pray it in a saintly manner, and it thus becomes an instrument of the sanctification of souls, then it will become something worthy of being taken up on a more widespread basis.
Until then, let us continue to use the ‘Anglican Rosary’ we have always used: the one common to all Latin Christians, prayed in our Anglican idiom. And let us continue to ask Mary for her intercession on behalf of the Anglican ordinariates and all our separated Anglican brethren.
UPDATE: There is a ‘Sarum Rosary’ that can be found online in both English and Latin, which would also be a part of our Anglican Catholic patrimony. It is similar to the common Dominican/Roman Catholic Rosary, but with poetic meditations attached to each Hail Mary. It can be found here: Rosary from the Sarum Hours.