How to Pray the Rosary? A Step-by-Step Visual Guide
Author: By Silvana Ramos |
The origin of the Rosary dates back to the year 800, but it has evolved throughout the centuries resulting in the Rosary that we know today. The Rosary invites us to make a beautiful meditation about the life of Jesus and the Holy Virgin Mary. Whether we pray it alone or with others, we can offer our Rosary for many intentions, always asking the intercession of Our Lady.
The Rosary, as we know it today, was given by the Virgin Mary herself to Saint Dominic of Guzman in the year 1214. She handed it over to him in order to fight the heretics and sinners of the times, and she also asked him to teach people how to pray it and spread this devotion throughout the world. Spreading the devotion to the Holy Rosary is still a responsibility of all Catholics. Ever since those times, Christians pray the Rosary along with meditation on 15 mysteries about the life of Our Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In 2002, Saint Pope John Paul II introduced five additional mysteries: the Luminous Mysteries. So, currently, we meditate on 20 mysteries.
Without further introduction, we’ll tell you how to pray the Rosary. If you are a beginner, you can start by praying one mystery (or one “decade” of 10 Hail Mary’s) a day, until you build up your stamina. It’s never too late to start.
1. To begin…
Hold the Rosary in your hands and begin with the Sign of the Cross. While you do the Sign of the Cross, say these words:
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
2. Later you’ll use the Cross at the end of your Rosary
You will pray the Apostles’ Creed, holding the Crucifix or Cross, after which you can also make an act of contrition (this is optional, but we highly recommend it).
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; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated 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.
Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
3. The beads
Take the first bead of the Rosary and begin by praying an Our Father. The following three beads symbolize three Hail Marys. Traditionally, they are offered to increase the Faith, Hope, and Love of those who pray the Rosary, and for the intentions of the Holy Father, the Pope. This group of prayers is finished with a “Glory be.”
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, 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 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.
4. The Mysteries of the Rosary
Announce with reverence each mystery of the Rosary. Traditionally, the mysteries are prayed according to the day of the week. Begin by announcing the corresponding mystery, followed by a meditation on that moment in the life of Our Lord or of Mary. It’s not a simple repetition, but a true journey through the main events of the life of Jesus Christ and the Holy Virgin Mary, while, at the same time, we offer, thank, and ask for the intercession of Our Mother for our intentions.
After having announced the mystery, we pray an Our Father followed by 10 Hail Marys, and finish with a Glory be. After the Glory be, we say the Fátima Prayer:
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.
The Joyful Mysteries (Monday and Saturday)
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity
- The Presentation
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday and Friday)
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning with Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion
The Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday and Sunday)
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
- The Baptism in the Jordan
- The Wedding at Cana
- Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
Institution of the Eucharist
We finish the Rosary after having prayed the 5 mysteries corresponding to each day (or after having finished one mystery when we’re praying a decade). As a final prayer, hold the medal of the Rosary and say the Hail Holy Queen, as a sign of praise and recognition to Our Mother.
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 toward us, and after this our exile show 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.
5. Where to pray?
It’s recommended that you pray the Rosary in a calm, quiet place where there will not be interruptions. The nice thing about the Rosary is that you can basically pray it anywhere: walking alone, sitting on a park bench while contemplating nature, in the solitude of your room, with friends in a group, in your parish, and – my favorite – before the Blessed Sacrament.
6. There are different types of Rosaries.
Did you know that there is more than one type of Rosary? That’s right. The original Catholic Rosary, the one the Holy Virgin handed over to Saint Dominic, has fifty beads. But there also exist decade Rosaries which, as their name suggests, have 10 beads and can be worn around your finger. Due to their small size, you can easily take them everywhere.
7. Some Helpful Resources to Pray the Rosary
The Holy Rosary with Pope John Paul II: iTunes
The Holy Rosary: iTunes Store
Catholic-Link’s Ultimate Visual Guide to the Rosary
“You know it’s essential to pray, and you would like to do so by recalling and considering what Jesus has done and suffered for us: the Mysteries of His infancy, of His Passion and Death, and of His glorious Resurrection.
“Reciting your “Mystery,” or “decade,” you follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who instructing you from within, leads you to imitate Jesus more closely by making you pray with Mary, and above all, like Mary.” – Saint John Paul II