How to Pray the Rosary

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospel of Matthew 6:9-13. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Pope John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.

The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s spirit dwells. The Rosary can be said privately or with a group.

Praying the Rosary

Familiarize yourself and/or your group with the prayers of the rosary: Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer and Hail Holy Queen.

  1. Make the Sign of the Cross.
  2. Holding the Crucifix, say the Apostles’ Creed.
  3. On the first bead, say an Our Father.
  4. Say three Hail Marys on each of the next three beads.
  5. Say the Glory Be
  6. For each of the five decades;
    • Announce the Mystery (perhaps followed by a brief reading from Scripture).
    • Then say the Our Father.
    • While fingering each of the ten beads of the decade, next say ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery.
    • Then say a Glory Be.
    • After finishing each decade, some say the Fatima Prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima.
  7. After saying the five decades, say the Hail, Holy Queen, followed by this dialogue and prayer:

    V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

    R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Let us pray: O God, whose Only Begotten Son,

    by his life, Death, and Resurrection,

    has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life,

    grant, we beseech thee,

    that while meditating on these mysteries

    of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary,

    we may imitate what they contain

    and obtain what they promise,

    through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

  8. Conclude the Rosary with the Sign of the Cross.

Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

Hail Holy Queen

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

The Mysteries

The Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays of Advent:

  1. The Annunciation
    • Authentic Faith is open to the unexpected
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Humility
  2. The Visitation
    • Authentic Faith inspires us to make sacrifices for others
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Love of Neighbor
  3. The Nativity
    • Authentic Faith discovers the glorious in the ordinary
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Poverty
  4. The Presentation in the Temple
    • Authentic Faith is open to the prophetic word
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Obedience
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
    • Authentic Faith doesn’t cling to preconceived notions
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Joy in Finding Jesus

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays of Lent:

  1. The Agony in the Garden
    • Authentic Faith abandons self to God, no matter what
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Sorrow for Sin
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
    • Authentic Faith embraces Jesus’ humanity and divinity
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Purity
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
    • Authentic Faith shares in the physical and mental suffering of Christ
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Courage
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
    • Authentic Faith moves us forward, even during trials and tribulations
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Patience
  5. The Crucifixion and Death
    • Authentic Faith is a sharing in the death of Jesus
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Perseverance

The Five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Wednesday and Sundays outside of Lent and Advent:

  1. The Resurrection
    • Authentic Faith experiences the Risen Christ
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Faith
  2. The Ascension
    • Authentic Faith keeps us focused on the here and now
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Hope
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
    • Authentic Faith is open to the Holy Spirit in all times and places
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Love of God
  4. The Assumption of Mary
    • Authentic Faith looks forward to having a glorified body
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Grace of a Happy Death
  5. The Coronation of Mary
    • Authentic Faith looks to Mary as a model
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Trust in Mary’s Intercession

The Five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:

  1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan
    • Authentic Faith is rooted in the grace of baptism
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Openness to the Holy Spirit
  2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
    • Authentic Faith takes all worries and concerns to Christ
    • Fruit of the Mystery: To Jesus through Mary
  3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God
    • Authentic Faith experiences God’s Kingdom now and anticipates the Kingdom to come
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Repentance and Trust in God
  4. The Transfiguration
    • Authentic Faith is aware of its roots
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Desire for Holiness
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist
    • Authentic Faith is devoted to the Eucharist
    • Fruit of the Mystery: Adoration

Reference: “Authentic Faith” and “Fruit of the Mystery” captions taken from The Rosary Handbook by Mitch Finley.