From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Catholic devotions are prayer forms which are not part of the official public liturgy of the Church but are part of the popular spiritual practices of Catholics. Many are officially sanctioned by the Church as profitable for spiritual growth but not necessary for salvation. Often devotions in the Church take the form of formalized prayers, sacred objects or sacred images that arise from private revelations, or personal religious experiences of individuals such as apparitions of Mary or of Christ. Catholic devotions also include the veneration of the saints. The Church has a tradition of thorough investigation of such private revelations and the lives of candidates for sainthood to assure that no natural or scientific explanation can, at the time of investigation, account for any miracles involved. Often an approved devotion of the Church has a particular prayer form, an image and sometimes a message or prophecy.
Several examples of Catholic devotions include the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Face of Jesus, the various scapulars, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Seven Dolors, Novenas to various saints, pilgrimages and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, and the veneration of icons in the Eastern Catholic Churches, etc.