A friend of mine died Tuesday and the Rosary was held today. I have spent very little time attending Catholic services, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Can any of you take a moment to explain what all that was?
A woman spoke and they were obviously prayers. This went on over and over. Each time, she began with a one line introduction (as near as I could tell, a phase of Jesus’ life). This introduction was followed by her saying the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer and the mourners chorally saying the last half. Then a whole bunch of stuff, ending with a prayer in Spanish. Then, this whole process began again. I saw many of the women clutching beads in their hands. I did not see any men with beads. Some of the mourners were clutching cards with Jesus’ image on one side and some text on the other.
After all of this, the woman speaking consoled the mother, husband, and daughters of the deceased. She then approached the body, prayed for a moment, and exited. Two new women went to a kneeling rail in front of the casket and the whole process began again, this time entirely in Spanish. The Spanish speaking mourners, both men and women, repeated various prayers that the women began.
After this, some songs were sung and some stories were read, all in Spanish. As this was going on, mourners went to visit the family of the deceased.
Now, I consider myself to be Christian. I know the Lord’s Prayer and have been in various Protestant churches. I haven’t done much in Catholic churches. Who teaches all of these prayers? I can’t imagine funerals happen so often that everyone, even the children, have memorized all these things. I know that the beads are Rosary beads, but what are they for? What were these cards about?
I am not intending to make light of any of this or argue whether it is right or wrong, or anything like that. It’s clearly not my sort of thing, but it’s okay if others find meaning in it. I’m just curious what it all meant.
If it matters, the deceased was a thirty-four year-old Hispanic married mother of three girls. Her name is Belinda and she died of a heart attack.