Rorate Caeli

Our Christmas gift:
Little Collection of Devout Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary, by John XXIII

Fifty years ago, on September 29, 1961, Pope Blessed John XXIII signed the Apostolic Letter "Il Religioso Convegno", on the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary. As a complement to this Apostolic Letter, John XXIII published his own personal devotions on each of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary - available on the Vatican website in Italian and in Spanish.

All English translations currently available on the web are very incomplete, and filled with mistranslations. We used this version as our draft for a correct and complete translation of this beautiful devotional exercise of the Pope.

This Sunday marks the exact fiftieth anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, by the Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis - which explains the prayers asked for the Council in the meditation of the third Glorious Mystery. Our readers surely know our skepticism regarding the last Ecumenical Council - many of its problems were the result of a naïve enthusiasm which, events would soon make clear, was unjustified.

But the time is long past for us to reclaim Pope John XXIII: in the Sacred Liturgy, in liturgical practices, in traditional devotion, few recent Popes were as traditional as the Good Pope. This can be readily noticed in this Collection, in which the Missale Romanum and the Breviarium Romanum are quoted several times. We can easily see how the documents of the Council would have turned out if he had been able to lead it with all his intellectual faculties by the beautiful decisions of the Roman Synod of 1960 and the very traditional original schemata (drafts) of the Conciliar documents. As his predecessors in the 20th century, Leo XIII, Saint Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, he was a good Pope. But he was our Good Pope. He was also a man of his age, marked by the optimism and regrets of the post-war generation, but always a son of Our Lady.

We now make our translation available to you in this special PDF booklet format as our own Christmas gift - if you wish to, you may open it only tomorrow...

NOTE: the host website will ask you for an encryption password: ignore it, just click on the FILE tab and then on DOWNLOAD ORIGINAL and download the file.

May you all have a very happy and blessed Christmastide!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! It is indeed important for traditionalists to get a different view of this blessed Pope who is not responsible for the confusion after Vaticanum II. He was commended by God through a stunning miracle:

  2. José Carlos Parada3:02 PM

    From El Salvador, Merry Christmas. Thank you for all your help

  3. Torkay3:42 PM

    This is very timely, as, thanks to just beginning to read , I have a new appreciation of Bl. John, esp. because of the Bishops Synod and Veterum Sapientia, both of which were immediately ignored. (My previous skepticism about him was due to his welcoming condemned or questionable theologians to serve as peritii at the Council).

    A blessed and Holy Christmas feast to all our Rorate Caeli hosts!

  4. "but always a son of Our Lady."


    Between my fingers
    Flow blue beads
    Praying for all
    Not wants but needs.

    Desiring good
    For all that trespass
    Against our souls
    Bank beads of blue glass…

    Against our being
    We stiffen and rail -
    Rapids of beads
    Bleed blue-anger pale.

    And though we're wounded
    Misjudged and wronged…
    The river of blue
    Is her Immaculate song.

  5. Peterman4:16 PM

    If only the "good" Pope John had obeyed our Lady's mandate at Fatima to consecrate Russia. Instead, in 1960 he put the message of Fatima away and wrote on the document "not for our time."
    I hate to be a Christmas party pooper but this was a HUGE mistake. Nevertheless, it is what it is now.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  6. This is a really fine thing to do; thank you!

    Pope John has been taken by the "left" and ripped from his Traditional context, and thus we have a distorted view of him.

    May he be a powerful intercessor for the Tradition in all its aspects, but most especially in the restoration of Catholic worship.

  7. Prof. Basto5:23 PM

    Thank you very much, and happy Christmas to you and to all members of the Rorate Caeli team!

  8. Ligusticus5:48 PM

    Buon Natale a Rorate Caeli (Contributors and Readers)!

  9. Fr. A.M.6:32 PM

    A happy and a holy Christmas to Rorate Coeli and all its readers.

  10. Delphina6:41 PM

    Merry Christmas NC, Jordannes, Adfero, and all posters on Rorate!

    May the Holy Family send each and every one of you a special grace and blessing this Christmas!

  11. Anonymous6:53 PM

    Merry Christmas to you too, and that YOU for everything you do for us!

  12. I downloaded the file and attempted to open it, but Adobe said it couldn't open an encrypted file. I tried just printing it from its current location and it said Adobe couldn't open an encrypted file. Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong and advice on how to correct would be appreciated.

    Merry Christmas, friends at Rorate.

  13. Save the file first. Only then open it from location in which you saved it - it opens as a secure file in Adobe Reader 9 (I am not sure if it opens in earlier versions).


  14. Thanks, NC. I am using my father's computer which has Adobe 7. I will look into upgrading.

  15. Delphina7:43 PM


    I'm not sure how to take that ("and that YOU for everything you do for us!"), but, what the heck, it is Christmas Eve and I will take it as a compliment! Hahahahaaaaa!!

    Merry Christmas!!!

  16. THE

    It is the morn
    Of Christmas Eve,
    Scrambled eggs I cook.

    Advent's Sunday,
    Fourth and last
    Most fasting now forsook.

    The birds outside
    Are singing carols
    Pitched soprano-high.

    Above the frost
    Below the blue,
    Their midnight moment nigh.

    Then beasts will speak
    In whispers low,
    When Emmanuel did come,

    How they could talk
    And pray an hour...
    While man was struck quite dumb.

    ...and to ALL a Merry Christmas!!

  17. Anonymous8:55 PM

    Delphina, of course that was a compliment! Without all if you, there would be no Rorate.

  18. When I download it, it's blank.

  19. PS what's the new header painting?

  20. Star of the Sea10:40 PM

    Where did you get that beautiful photo on the homepage of Rorate? I would love to know.
    Thank you - Merry Christmas

  21. Bartholomew10:47 PM

    A blessed and merry Christmas to the staff of Rorate Caeli and to the community which has been formed within it.

  22. Jerome Vincent11:21 PM

    Many thanks to the Rorate Caeli team! Successfully and gratefully downloaded.

    Merry Christmas!!

  23. Anonymous12:14 AM

    The header NC picked is the Adoration of the shepherds, by a Spanish Dominican, Friar Juan Bautista Mayno. Find more at

  24. May the little Christchild bring joy to the hearts of all at Rorate.

  25. Barbara10:09 AM

    Merry Christmas to all at Rorate and God bless us everyone!


  26. Jeannette2:10 AM

    Dear NC,

    A Blessed Christmas to you. I have opened the file four times and it is blank. Any suggestions? I tried saving it first and then opening it, but it is still blank.

    God bless you.

  27. Thank you Rorate for this offering for Christmas and the new year. What good stuff to immerse into, spiritually.

    God bless.

  28. Jeanette,

    Do not open the file directly, save it to your own computer, and only then open it. It is viewable in Adobe Reader 9 and higher.


  29. Pope John XXIII was a very good, devout and traditional pope. He may have been a little on the idealistic side but he had no intention of bringing about the eventual Pauline populist revolution. His orthodoxy was totally ignored in the conciliar sequel. One might blame Pope Pius XII for giving Bugnini such a position to bring about his liturgical revolution but this would be too harsh and unreasonable an assumption. Neither popes would have been able to foresee the consequences of all of their decisions.

    Furthermore, this posting demonstrates also that when a pope wants to propagate The Holy Rosary he does so using conventionally acceptable means. There is no need or call to radically upset its customary rhythm for superfluous additions.


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