How to Pray the Rosary
The Rosary consists of 20 mysteries related to the life of our Lord. These mysteries are divided into four sets according to the four stages of Christ's life - Birth and Childhoon, Public Ministry Passion and Death, and his Resurrection and Assension.
The first set of five mysteries, the Joyful Mysteries, are usually prayed on Mondays and Saturdays. In these mysteries, we meditate on the birth, infancy, and childhood of Jesus.
The second set, the Luminous Mysteries (or Mysteries of Light), are usually prayed on Thursdays. In these mysteries, we meditate on events in the public life and ministry of Jesus.
On Tuesdays and Fridays, we usually pray The Sorrowful Mysteries. In these mysteries, we meditate on Christ's suffering and death on the cross.
Finally, on Wednesday and Sundays, we pray the Glorious Mysteries where we meditate on the resurrection, ascension, coming of the Holy Spirit, and the assumption and coronation of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary.
While it is customary to pray only one set of mysteries on a specific day, the entire Rosary consists of all 20 mysteries, and it would therefore be beneficial to pray all 20 mysteries every day.
Each mystery of the Rosary consists of 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and 1 Glory Be.
The Rosary also includes the Apostle's Creed, an Our Father and 3 Hail Marys for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, the Hail Holy Queen, and, often, the Fatima prayer.
One final comment before we look at how to pray the Rosary: Many people think the Rosary is simply a repetitive prayer. They see no sense in just reciting 5 Our Fathers, 50 Hail Marys and 5 Glory Be's. They claim that the Rosary puts them to sleep. Prayed correctly, however, the Rosary is one of the most beautiful prayers you can offer, and gives abundant graces.
The full power and beauty of the Rosary comes in that it is a meditative prayer. As we say the prayers of the Rosary, we should also be meditating on them. The prayers themselves can be likened to the white noise that many offices have. The purpose, like that of white noise, is to block out external distractions.
There are many ways to meditate, but two that I like are mentioned here. One way to meditate on the Rosary is to consider what the prayers mean. What does each phrase of the Hail Mary (or Our Father or Glory Be) mean? Another, more appropriate way to meditate, is to consider the mystery being prayed. What does the mystery mean? How can I put it into practice in my life? How does this help me to imitate Jesus and Mary?
- Make the Sign of the Cross
- Pray the Apostles' Creed followed by 1 Our Father, 3 Hail
Marys, 1 Glory Be and (if desired) the Fatima Prayer.
- On the first single bead, announce the first mystery (Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious, depending on the day of the week). If desired, do a short reading or meditation related to this mystery.
- Pray 1 Our Father on the first single bead and 10 Hail Marys on the first set of 10 beads. End this first mystery with 1 Glory Be and (if desired) the Fatima Prayer in the space before the next single bead.
- Continue this way until you have prayed the five decades (sets of mysteries) that are appropriate for the day.
- Pray the Hail Holy Queen.
- End with another Sign of the Cross.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. The third day He rose again, He ascended into Heaven. He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again 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, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your 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, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
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.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail, 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 vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.