What Is a Catholic Rosary Service?

Updated July 19, 2017

The rosary is a one of the Catholic traditions most familiar to non-Catholics. Lesser known is the rosary service, which is not often practised but traditionally used at Catholic funerals.

The Rosary

Praying the rosary is a many-step process that includes the well-known prayers of the Apostles Creed, the Our Father (Lord's Prayer), the Hail Mary and the Glory Be. Some traditions also include the Fatima Prayer.

Rosary Service

A rosary service is a traditional Catholic funeral ritual usually held the night before the burial. Open to all, the family uses this time to receive visitors and pray the rosary. The ritual is sometimes held during the vigil service or wake.

Vigil Service/Wake

A vigil service, or wake, is usually held the night before burial and is a time for the grieving family to receive condolences and for all in attendance to share memories of the deceased. The service is typically held at a funeral home because it includes a viewing of the body.

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About the Author

Based in Rochester, N.Y., Jenna Williams is a sign language interpreter who began freelancing in 2010. Her articles can be found at, eHow, Answerbag and LIVESTRONG.COM. Williams is working toward her Master of Science in communication and media technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology.