The purpose of the Rosary
is to reflect on the mysteries of Christ.
Mysteries are truths of faith that we know only because God revealed them to us. They are mysteries because we cannot come to know them on our own. We are dependent on God’s intervention and revelation.
While Marian, the Rosary is centered on Christ.
Reciting the Rosary opens one to experience peace,
and to understand the depth of Christ’s love.
When praying the Rosary,
we meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life
as viewed through the eyes of Mary, his mother.
The rosary is a spiritual sword. St. Louis de Montfort claimed that “devils have an overwhelming fear of the rosary. St. Bernard says that the Angelic Salutation puts them to flight and makes all hell tremble.” (de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary) It is simple to memorize and is portable. Praying the rosary helps people return to Jesus Christ and experience peace.
There are four sets of mysteries of the Rosary:
The Joyful Mysteries (Mondays and Saturdays)
The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesdays and Fridays)
The Glorious Mysteries (Wednesdays and Sundays)
The Luminous Mysteries (Thursdays)
Each of the four sets contains five mysteries/episodes/chapters.
The Rosary has five divisions or decades,
one for each of the five mysteries contained in a set.
Each mystery contains a fruit for further contemplation.
The fruits of the mysteries teach different virtues.
How to pray the Rosary:
1. Make the sign of the Cross while saying
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
And 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;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will 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.
2. Say 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.
3. Say three "Hail Mary Prayers":
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.
4. Say the "Glory Be to the Father":
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
and ever shall be,
world without end.
5. Announce the First Mystery (the Mysteries can be found below),
and recite the "Our Father." (#2)
6. Say ten "Hail Marys" (#3)
while meditating on the Mystery and associated Fruit/Virtue. (10 Hail Marys form a decade.)
7. Say two prayers after each decade:
The "Glory Be to the Father" (#4)
"The Fatima Decade Prayer":
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.
8. For each of the four remaining mysteries, repeat steps 5, 6, & 7:
Announce the next Mystery and say the "Our Father" (#2),
Say ten "Hail Marys" (#3), and
Recite the "Glory Be to the Father" (#4) and "The Fatima Decade Prayer" (#7)
9. Recite the "Hail, Holy Queen"
on the medal after completing
the five decades:
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 the 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,
O sweet Virgin Mary!
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
The illustration used for this page:
Copyright 2015 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.
Typically prayed on Mondays and Saturdays
1st The Annunciation--The coming of Jesus is announced. Mary learns that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus.
2nd The Visitation--Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), who tells her that she will always be remembered.
Love of Neighbor
3rd The Birth of Jesus--Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem.
Poverty in Spirit
Detachment from the Things of the World
4th The Presentation--Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to God.
5th Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple--Jesus is found, after being lost, in the Temple discussing his faith with the teachers.
Joy in Finding Jesus
Typically Prayed on Thursdays
The Mysteries of Light focus on Jesus’ public ministry between his Baptism and Passion, when Jesus reveals who he is and what he has come to do. They are revelations of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus.
1st Baptism of Christ--Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. God proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son.
Openness to the Holy Spirit
2nd Wedding at Cana--At Mary's request, Jesus performs his first miracle. Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast at Cana.
To Jesus through Mary
3rd Proclamation of the Kingdom of God--Jesus calls all to conversion and service to the kingdom.
Repentance and Trust in God
4th Transfiguration--Jesus is seen shining in a glorious light and is revealed in glory to Peter, James and John.
Desire for Holiness
5th Institution of the Eucharist--Jesus offers his Body and Blood at the Last Supper and gives himself to the Apostles in bread and wine.
Typically prayed on Fridays and Tuesdays.
The Sorrowful Mysteries help us to relive the death of Jesus, as we stand at the foot of the cross, where next to Mary we can perceive the depths of God’s love for us.
1st The Agony in the Garden--Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives on the night before he dies.
Sorrow for sin
2nd The Scourging at the Pillar--Jesus is beaten and lashed with whips.
3rd Crowning with Thorns--Jesus is mocked and has a crown of thorns thrust onto his head.
4th Carrying of the Cross--Jesus carries to Calvary (or Golgotha, just outside the walls of Jerusalem) the cross that will be used to crucify him.
5th The Crucifixion--Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies.
Typically prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays
1st The Resurrection--God the Father raises Jesus from the dead.
2nd The Ascension--Jesus returns to his Father in heaven.
3rd Descent of the Holy Spirit--The Holy Spirit comes to bring new life to the disciples.
Love of God
4th The Assumption--At the end of her life on earth, Mary is taken body and soul into heaven.
Grace of a Happy Death
5th The Coronation--Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Trust in Mary's Intercession