“The traditional image of the Madonna of the Rosary depicts Mary holding the child Jesus in her arm and giving the rosary to St. Dominic. This significant iconography shows that the rosary is a means given by the Virgin for contemplating Jesus and, meditating on his life, for loving and following him always more faithfully.” Benedict XVI
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 Gospels. 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.
The Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Mondays, Saturdays, and on the Sundays of Advent:
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity
- The Presentation in the Temple
- The Finding in the Temple
The Five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:
- The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan
- The Wedding Feast at Cana
- Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
The Five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Tuesdays, Fridays, and on the Sundays of Lent:
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning with Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion and Death
The Five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Wednesdays and on the Sundays outside of Lent and Advent:
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption
- The Coronation of Mary
Praying the Rosary
Familiarize yourself and/or your group with the prayers of the rosary.
- Make the Sign of the Cross.
- Holding the Crucifix, say the Apostles’ Creed.
- On the first bead, say an Our Father.
- Say three Hail Marys on each of the next three beads.
- Say the Glory Be
Praying the Mysteries
- For each of the five decades, announce the Mystery (perhaps followed by a brief reading from Scripture using the links above) 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 following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima:
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.
After saying the five decades, say:
- Hail, Holy Queen,
- Optional: concluding prayer
- Optional: St. Michael Prayer
- Optional: Prayer to St. Joseph
Most of the text and the image of the Rosary are taken from the web page of the U.S. Bishops: www.usccb.org – How to Pray the Rosary.
Thank you bishops and USCCB staff! You are in our prayers!