302 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated
• Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. “These are
sacred signs which bear resemblance to the sacraments. They signify
effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through
the intercession of the Church” (CCC, no. 1667, citing SC, no. 60).
• Among the sacramentals, blessings hold a major place. There are
blessings for persons, meals, objects, places and ceremonial occa-
sions such as graduations, testimonial honors, welcomes, and fare-
well. All blessings praise God for his gifts. Most blessings invoke
the Holy Trinity as expressed in the Sign of the Cross, sometimes
accompanied by the sprinkling of holy water.
• “Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the libera-
tion from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which
Jesus entrusted to his Church” (CCC, no. 1673).
• “Expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but
do not replace it. They ‘should be so drawn up that they harmo-
nize 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 far superior to any of them’” (CCC,
no. 1675, citing SC, no. 13 §3).
A number of historical circumstances also make a revival of the
Rosary quite timely. First of all, the need to implore from God
the gift of peace. The Rosary has many times been proposed
by my predecessors and myself as a prayer for peace. At the
start of a millennium which began with the terrifying attacks
of September 11, 2001, a millennium which witnesses every day
in numerous parts of the world fresh scenes of bloodshed and
violence, to rediscover the Rosary means to immerse oneself
in contemplation of the mystery of Christ who “is our peace,”
since he made “the two of us one, and broke down the dividing
wall of hostility” (Eph 2:14). Consequently, one cannot recite