How To Pray The Rosary

So far we’ve talked about the history of the Rosary, and recounted the epic Battle of Lepanto, a victory won by Our Lady and the Rosary. As I was thinking about continuing my month-long tribute to the Rosary with another post, I suddenly found myself imagining someone saying something like this:

Vixey, you keep talking about the Rosary, but some of us don’t even know how to pray the Rosary!

Although the devotion of the Rosary is widely known among both Catholics and non-Catholics, you’d be surprised to find there are some folks out there who may not know about it.

Photo: MaryTV

I’m not one to leave anything to chance, and when the opportunity to share this devotion presents itself I try not to let pass. Honestly, we shouldn’t let it pass. It’s that important!

So, today—whether you’re a cradle-Catholic whose never picked up a Rosary before, a convert or even a non-Catholic who’s curious to learn, or a parent/guardian wanting to introduce the Rosary to a child—we’re going to learn how to pray the Rosary!

All right, so the Rosary mainly consists of these prayers:

  • The Sign of the Cross
  • The Apostles Creed
  • The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father)
  • The Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • The Fatima Prayer
  • The Hail Holy Queen
  • Saint Michael Prayer

The Rosary is a prayer based upon the events in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as well as that of His Mother, Mary. The Rosary involves both vocal and mental prayer. Vocal being the prayers listed above, and mental from meditating the mysteries of the Rosary (the events and lives of Jesus and Mary).

A Rosary is an arrangement of stringed beads divided into five (5) decades used to help keep track of prayers as you meditate on the mysteries. Each decade of the rosary consists of one (1) Our Father and ten (10) Hail Marys.


Until recently there were fifteen (15) total mysteries of Rosary; the Joyful, Sorrowful, and the Glorious mysteries. In 2002, St. Pope John Paul II added the Luminous mysteries to the Rosary, making it a total of twenty (20) mysteries.

Each mystery has its own designated day of the week:

Monday – Joyful Mysteries

Tuesday – Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday – Glorious Mysteries

Thursday – Luminous Mysteries

Friday – Sorrowful Mysteries

Saturday – Joyful Mysteries

Sunday – Glorious Mysteries

Joyful Mysteries

1. The Annunciation – Our Lady says yes to being the mother of Jesus.

2. The Visitation – Our Lady is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth who confirms that She is truly carrying Jesus, the Son of God.

3. The Birth of Jesus – Our Blessed Lord Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem.

4. The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple – Our Lady and St. Joseph take baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem in accordance with Jewish Law.

5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple – After searching for the 12 year-old Jesus for three days, Blessed Mother and St. Joseph find Him in the temple teaching the high priests.

Sorrowful Mysteries

1. The Agony in the Garden – On the night before His death,  Jesus prays in the Garden of Olives where his agony is so great, his sweat becomes drops of blood.

2. The Scourging at the Pillar – Jesus is scourged before He is crucified.

3. The Crowning with Thorns – The cruel Roman soldiers make a mockery of Jesus and crown Him with a painful crown made of thorns.

4. The Carrying of the Cross – Jesus carries His cross  to where He will be crucified.

5. The Crucifixion – Our Blessed Lord Jesus is crucified and dies for our sins.

Glorious Mysteries

1. The Resurrection – Three days after His crucifixion, Jesus raises gloriously from the dead.

2. The Ascension – Jesus ascends into Heaven on a cloud.

3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit – The promised Helper descends on the Apostles and Our Lady, appearing as tongues of fire on the first Pentecost.

4. The Assumption – Our Lady is taken into Heaven, body and soul.

5. The Coronation – Our Lady is crowned by Jesus as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Luminous Mysteries

1. The Baptism of Jesus – Jesus is baptized by His cousin St. John the Baptist in the Jordan River.

2. The Wedding Feast at Cana – Jesus performs His first public miracle by changing water into wine at a wedding feast. He was prompted to do so by Mary; this also marks Our Lady’s first intercession.

3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom – Jesus goes about preaching and proclaiming the Kingdom of God, forgives sinners and asks all to convert their hearts back to God.

4. The Transfiguration – Jesus takes the Apostles Peter, James and John up onto Mount Tabor and suddenly, Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. Jesus’ appearance changes into dazzling white as He reveals His divinity.

5. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist – At the Last Supper, Jesus turns bread and wine into His body and blood. He makes the apostles His first priests and gives them the power to do the same in memory of Him.

Okay. So that covers the mysteries of the Rosary. Next is the prayers of the Rosary. For those who don’t know or remember the prayers mentioned earlier, I have them right here for you.

The 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 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 and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall 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.

The Lord’s Prayer (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 the Evil One. 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.

Hail Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope, to thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy 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. Amen.

The Fatima Prayer

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

Saint Michael Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray and do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. 

All right. So we covered the mysteries, which days to pray which mysteries, and the prayers. Now it’s time to pray the Rosary! Using Rosary beads, here are simple step-by-step instructions on praying the Rosary. You can pray it alone, but it’s even better to pray it with others, if you can.

1. Start by making the Sign of the Cross with the cross in your hand.

2. While holding the cross, recite the Apostles Creed.

3. Move to the large bead above the cross and say the Our Father.

4. Move to the three beads, and recite a Hail Mary on each bead.

5. Then the Glory Be.

6. Announce the Rosary Mystery being said.

7. Pray the Our Father.

8. Pray ten Hail Marys.

9. Pray the Glory Be.

10. Recite the Fatima Prayer.

11. Repeat steps six through ten until you have said a prayer on each bead, taking you around in a circle.

12. Conclude the Rosary with the Hail Holy Queen, and the Saint Michael Prayer, and finally the Sign of the Cross.



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