The Holy Rosary
The use of beads to help count repetitive prayers is an ancient custom in several religions. Its most common use in Western Christianity is in the use of the Holy Rosary. This kind of practice allows us to open our hearts and minds to God praying in and through us, as we rely less and less on the need to form our own words and thoughts for prayer, and use the process of repeating simple prayers to allow God to speak to us in ways that we might not otherwise be open to hearing.
The practice of praying the Rosary involves a series of very short readings, each followed by the repetitive praying of ten Hail Marys, the Gloria Patri, and the Lord's Prayer. Traditionally these readings and prayers frame one's silent meditation on the mysteries of God's love. These mysteries are associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose life and prayers always direct us to Jesus.
Some Episcopal churches where devotion to Mary is emphasized - like Saint Mark's - still keep the practice of praying the Rosary. Here, a small group gathers on most Saturdays after the 10 a.m. Low Mass to pray the Rosary together.