A Guide to the Rosary

Who Can Pray the Rosary

Anyone who knows six easy prayers can pray a Rosary; you will also need to know twenty Mysteries to meditate upon as you pray.

The Order of Prayers

The Rosary begins with the Apostles Creed, followed by one Our Father, three Hail Mary's (traditionally offered for an increase in faith, hope, and charity for those praying the Rosary) and a Glory Be. Next come five mysteries, each consisting of one Our Father, ten Hail Mary's, and a Glory Be. Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen. Please say a few extra prayers after the Hail Holy Queen for the Pope.

Rosary Beads

If you do not have Rosary beads, it is perfectly okay to count with your fingers. Counting beads frees your mind to help you meditate.

Prayers for Praying the Rosary

The Apostle's 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 Ghost, 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, sitteth 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 the life everlasting. Amen.

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 evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst 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 toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Leader: Pray for us O Holy Mother of God,
All: That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
(Optional)
Leader: Let us pray.
All: O God whose only begotten Son by his life, death, and Resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; 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.

The Twenty Mysteries

Here is a brief listing and description of all twenty Mysteries.

The Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel "announces" to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.

The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.

The Nativity: Jesus is born.

The Presentation: Mary and Joseph "present" Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.

The Finding in the Temple: After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.

The Luminous Mysteries (The Mysteries of Light)

The Baptism in the Jordan: The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.

The Wedding at Cana: Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.

The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Jesus calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.

The Transfiguration: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.

The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Agony in the Garden: Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.

The Scourging at the Pillar: Pilate has Jesus whipped.

The Crowning with Thorns: Roman soldiers crown Jesus' head with thorns.

The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.

The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.

The Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead.

The Ascension: Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily "ascends" to heaven.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.

The Assumption: Mary is taken bodily--assumed--into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.

The Coronation: Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Mysteries for Certain Weekdays

Traditionally, many people say the Joyful Mysteries on Monday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday, and start again with the Joyful Mysteries on Thursday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday. The Glorious Mysteries are then prayed on Saturday and Sunday. Now that the Luminous Mysteries have recently been added, the schedule is:

Monday - Joyful
Tuesday - Sorrowful
Wednesday - Glorious
Thursday - Luminous
Friday - Sorrowful
Saturday - Joyful
Sunday - Glorious

Try to place yourself "into" the scene of the particular mystery as you pray, imagining the sights, smells, sounds, and emotions that Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other participants experienced during the actual events.

It is also okay to meditate on the meaning of the words of the prayers as you pray them, or even to meditate on the person for whom you are offering the Rosary.


Joyful Mysteries

Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays of Advent

& Sundays from Epiphany until Lent

The Annunciation

The Visitation

The Birth of the Lord

The Presentation in the Temple

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple


Sorrowful Mysteries

Tuesdays, Fridays and daily

from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday

The Agony in the Garden

The Scourging at the Pillar

The Crowning with Thorns

The Carrying of the Cross

The Crucifixion



Glorious Mysteries

Wednesdays & Sundays throughout the year

The Resurrection

The Ascension of the Lord

The Descent of the Holy Spirit

The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luminous Mysteries

Thursdays throughout the year

The Baptism in the Jordan

The Wedding at Cana

The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God

The Transfiguration

The Institution of The Eucharist

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Rev. Martin O’Connor

The Presbytery

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St Bede’s Catholic Church

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