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Chapter 22. Sacramentals and Popular Devotions • 301

popular devotion—the rosary—calling on bishops, priests, and

deacons “to promote it with conviction” and recommending to

all the faithful, “Confidently take up the Rosary once again.

Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with

the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives” (RVM, no. 43).

Because popular devotional practices have such an impor-

tant role in the spiritual life of Catholics, we, the bishops of the

United States, . . . hope to encourage the faithful to make use of

sound devotional practices, so that their lives might be filled in

various ways with praise and worship of God. Faithful practice

of popular devotions can help us experience God in our every-

day lives and conform us more closely to Jesus Christ. As Pope

Pius XII pointed out, the purpose of popular devotional prac-

tices is “to attract and direct our souls to God, purifying them

from their sins, encouraging them to practice virtue and, finally,

stimulating them to advance along the path of sincere piety by

accustoming them to meditate on the eternal truths and dispos-

ing them better to contemplate the mysteries of the human and

divine natures of Christ” (

On the Sacred Liturgy


Mediator Dei


no. 175). Referring to the many forms of popular piety found in

America, Pope John Paul II declared, “These and other forms of

popular piety are an opportunity for the faithful to encounter

the living Christ” (

The Church in America

, no. 16). (USCCB,

Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers

[Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003])


1. What kind of popular devotions have you experienced? If you have

made a pilgrimage, what was the impact on your faith life?

2. Have you witnessed the blessings of homes, persons, or special

objects used for liturgy? How might praying as a family, such as

saying Grace Before Meals or Grace After Meals, strengthen family

life as well as faith in God?

3. What are some benefits of praying the Rosary? Why do some people

have sacred art such as crucifixes, statues, and holy images in promi-

nent places in their homes?