The Holy Rosary

The Rosary is a very ancient form of Christian prayer, and tradition holds that the Blessed Virgin gave the Rosary to St. Dominic as a means of teaching the mysteries of Christianity to people who were mostly illiterate. This beautiful devotion has been one of the most popular devotional practices within the Church for more than seven centuries.

Prayer of the Rosary is both vocal and mental. Reading the lives of the Saints, one will see that there is rarely a Saint or holy person who did not have a strong devotion to this form of prayer. It is a means of prayerful meditation on the basic mysteries of Christianity, from the Incarnation of the Eternal Word to the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one is led to contemplate Christ’s acts of redemption and how they affect our lives.

Pope John Paul II writes, “by immersing us in the mysteries of the Redeemer’s life, it ensures that what he has done and what the liturgy makes present, profoundly assimilated, shapes our existence. (rosarium virginis Mariae 13)” On October 16, 2002, the Holy Father added five new mysteries to the traditional fifteen, giving us twenty mysteries of the Rosary. “That to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ’s public ministry between his Baptism and his passion.”

The Rosary is made up of 20 mysteries, divided into four groups of five mysteries.

The Joyful Mysteries (said on Monday & Saturday)

  • The Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • The Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth
  • The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • The Presentation of Jesus in the temple by Mary & Joseph
  • The Finding of Jesus in the temple


The Mysteries of Light (said on Thursday)

  • Our Lord’s Baptism in the Jordan
  • His self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana
  • His Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His Call to Conversion
  • His Transfiguration
  • His Institution of the Eucharist, as the Sacramental Expression of the Paschal Mystery


The Sorrowful Mysteries (said on Tuesday & Friday)

  • The Agony of Our Lord in the garden
  • The Scourging of our Lord at the pillar
  • The Crowning of Jesus with thorns
  • Jesus carries His cross
  • The Crucifixion and death of Jesus


The Glorious Mysteries (said on Wednesday & Sunday)

  • The Resurrection of Our Lord from the dead
  • The Ascension of Our Lord into heaven
  • The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary & the Apostles
  • The Assumption of Mary, body & soul into heaven
  • The Coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven and earth


Begin the Rosary by making the Sign of the Cross and reciting the Apostles Creed. 

  •  “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
  • “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again 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.”


On the first bead, pray the “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.”


On the next three beads, pray the “Hail Mary”, and add one “Glory Be” at the end.

  •  ” 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 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”


Begin each decade by announcing the mystery, then on the large beads pray the “Our Father” and on the 10 small beads, the “Hail Mary”. At the end of each decade add the “Glory Be” and the “O My Jesus”.

  •  “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.”


After the final decade, finish with the “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.”


Closing prayer.

  • V. “Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.”
    R. “That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”
  • “Let us pray.
    O God, whose Only Begotten Son, who by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the reward 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.”
  • “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”



The Rosary — 4 Comments

  1. Hello Father
    When Our Lady asks us to pray the rosary, I think she has refered to 15 decades being the entire Rosary. Does that mean we should leave off the mystries of light since it is the newest or is 20 decades considered the entire Rosary?
    Thank you.

    • You can do the Luminous Mysteries if you like. I love them, especially the Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist. They just add to the beautiful tradition we already have.

  2. well said my friend, Eucharist is the bread of life and the key to heaven, you cannot receive if you are not in the state of grace and you cannot knock on the gate if you are not in the state of grace, correct?

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