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Chapter 22. Sacramentals and Popular Devotions • 299

Temple. The Sorrowful Mysteries, which focus on Christ’s suffering

and death, are the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the

Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross, and the Crucifixion

and Death of Jesus. The Glorious Mysteries are the Resurrection, the

Ascension into Heaven, the Sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles

at Pentecost, the Assumption of Mary, and the Crowning of Mary as

the Queen of Heaven and Earth. In October of 2002, Pope John Paul II

issued the apostolic letter

On the Most Holy Rosary


Rosarium Virginis

1. What are sacramentals?

Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church.

These are sacred signs that bear a resemblance to the

sacraments. They signify effects, especially of a spiritual

nature, which are obtained through the intercession of

the Church. (CCC, no. 1667)

2. What is the first among the sacramentals?

Among sacramentals, blessings (of persons, meals,

objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God

and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by

God the Father “with every spiritual blessing” (Eph 1:3).

This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the

name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the

cross of Christ. (CCC, no. 1671)

3. What is the relationship of popular piety to the liturgy?

These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the

Church but do not replace it. They “should be so drawn

up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord

with the sacred liturgy, are in some way derived from it

and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its

very nature is superior to any of them.” (CCC, no. 1675, cit-

ing SC, no. 13, §3)