How to Pray the Rosary

How to Pray the Rosary 

Most Catholics love to pray the Rosary, yet they have often struggled in meditating on the mysteries while praying the Rosary.  They need not feel guilty as many saints had the same problem.  All that is needed is an effort to pray faithfully.  St. Therese of Lisieux said that whenever she is distracted during prayer, she would offer up these distractions for the love of Jesus.

To begin the Rosary:

(1) Make the Sign of the Cross, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

(2) Recite 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 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 arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sit 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.

(3) Recite one Our Father and Three Hail Marys:

Our Father, Who are 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 our death. Amen. (Three times)

(4) Recite the Doxology, Gloria Patri:

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.

Romans 16:27, Ephesians 3:21, and Jude 25; they are known as biblical doxologies. The lesser and greater doxologies are two responsive forms that originated in the 4th century and are now used in the liturgy. Doxology, hymn or formula of praise to God. Many doxologies are found in the Bible. The lesser doxology is named Gloria Patri: “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.” It is a popular prayer among Roman Catholics. The greater doxology, Gloria in excelsis Deo, is an early church expansion of the song of the angels in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.” It is used in the Roman Catholic Mass, except during Advent and Lent and in certain Masses throughout the year. A special doxology, known as the Trinitarian doxology, concludes the canon of the Mass by emphasizing Christ’s mediator ship: “Through him, with him, in him, O God, Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.” The greater, lesser, and Trinitarian doxologies are known as liturgical doxologies.

(5) Recite the Fatima Prayer:

O Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who have most need of Thy mercyThe Fatima Prayer is recited at the end of each decade.

The Rosary consists of five decades and each decade is preceded by an announcement of the mystery for that decade. There are four sets of mysteries: The Joyful mystery, The Luminous mystery, The Sorrowful mystery, and The Glorious mystery.  Each mystery consists of 5 elements, one for each decade.

The five elements of the Joyful mystery are: The Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel, The Visitation to her cousin, Elizabeth, The Birth of Jesus Christ, The Presentation in the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. The Joyful Mysteries are contemplated on Mondays and Saturdays.

The five elements of the Luminous mystery are: The Baptism of Our Lord, The Wedding Feast at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, The Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.  The Luminous Mysteries are contemplated on Thursdays.

The five elements of the Sorrowful mystery are: The Agony in the Garden, Jesus is scourged at the Pillar, The Crowning with Thorns, Jesus Carries His Cross, and Jesus Dies on the Cross.  The Sorrowful Mysteries are contemplated on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The five elements of the Glorious mystery are: The Resurrection, The Ascension, The Descending of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, and The Crowning of Our Lady as Queen of Heaven.  The Glorious Mysteries are contemplated on Wednesdays and Sundays except during Advent and Lent, in which case the Sorrowful Mysteries are contemplated.

Each decade is composed of the following:

One Our Father
Ten Hail Marys
One Glory be

Prayers At the Conclusion of the Rosary


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 sent 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.


O God, Whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation, grant we beseech Thee, that 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.


Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and 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, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.