The Holy Rosary | EWTN (2024)

The Rosary is the “epitome of the whole Gospel” (St. Paul VI). While occupying the senses with the “praying of the beads” the one who prays the rosary prayerfully reflects, meditates, on the mysteries of Christ’s life. These mysteries, represented by the five groups of ten beads are taking from the Gospel, and from the Churches own reflection on the Gospel down through the centuries―especially with respect to the role of the Blessed Virgin. She is the Woman (Gen. 3:15) from whom Christ took His human nature, as well as the Woman who cooperated in His Redemptive mission to its completion (John 19:26-27).

The purpose of the Rosary, therefore, is a deeper understanding of all the mysteries concerning Christ. A mystery is something divine, because the Persons associated with it are divine. Human reflection alone reaches a limit of understanding. But by seeking God in what we can know by prayerful reflection, we dispose ourselves to His grace and to a deeper understanding of the truths of the Faith, and of ourselves in light of them.

Catechism2708 Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as inlectio divina[prayerful contemplation of Scripture] or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.

Thus, the testimony of the Saints, and of the Church herself, is that the perseverance in praying the Rosary, especially through times of both consolation and dryness, is the path to a deeper prayer life―to contemplation of God, to growth in virtue, especially faith, hope and charity, and thus in holiness. For good reason, therefore, the Blessed Mother in appearing to the three shepherd children of Fatima in 1917 asked them, and through them us, to pray the Rosary for peace in the world. Such peace is a gift of God that begins in the human heart and spreads outward to others. It is a gift we must ask for, both for ourselves and for those who won't ask. In this way we unite ourselves to His redemptive mission, as Our Lady did, and help Him accomplish it toward those who are alive today.


How to Pray the Holy Rosary

A Rosary proper is made up of 5 groups of ten beads, or decades, each of which constitutes one of the mysteries of the Rosary. In addition, as Pope St. John Paul II noted in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae it has become “customary” to say prayers before the decades, and also in conclusion. These are said on the Crucifix and group of one plus three beads hanging from the Rosary. As customary prayers they are to that extent also optional, or, others may be freely chosen. They do in fact vary from place to place, though the pattern suggested here is a common one.

The Preparatory Prayers

Starting on the Crucifix, we call to mind our Redemption and the truths of the Faith.

1. Holding the Crucifix make the Sign of the Cross, praying: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

2. Still on the Crucifix profess the Apostles Creed. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty . . .”

On the group of 4 beads, honor the Holy Trinity, One God and Three Divine Persons. On the three beads, one may also ask successively for an increase of Faith, of Hope and of Charity, the three theological virtues (1 Cor. 13).

3. On the single bead, pray the Our Father.

4. On the three beads, pray three Hail Marys.

5. On the space after the beads pray the Glory Be.

Prayer and Meditation on the Mysteries

On the 5 groups of 10 beads, or decade, a distinct mystery from the lives of Jesus and Mary is honored. A complete Rosary of 20 decades is composed of 5 Joyous Mysteries, 5 Luminous Mysteries, 5 Sorrowful Mysteries, and 5 Glorious Mysteries. At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin asked for a Terço every day for peace, which meant a “third” of the traditional 15 decade rosary, meaning a 5 decade rosary composed of one of the groups of mysteries. This remains the case, even though Pope St. John Paul II in 2002 added a fourth set of mysteries, the Luminous.

One may freely say a single set of mysteries each day (or once around the beads), or a complete rosary of 20 decades. One may pray any set of mysteries, or follow the traditional pattern. One may pray the rosary at one time, or spread throughout the day, and do so in a church, at home, or anywhere, as time and opportunity allows.

Mondays and Saturdays.
Sundays of Advent & Christmas.

1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple


1. The Baptism in the Jordan
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. Proclamation of the Kingdom
4. The Transfiguration
5. Institution of the Eucharist

Tuesdays and Fridays.
Sundays of Lent.

1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion

Wednesdays and Sundays

1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On the Decades

Announce the first Mystery. If possible, make a short meditation on the subject of the mystery. One can use the applicable Scriptures, a book created for this purpose (see EWTN's Religious Catalog store), or simply reflect on the scene, or one's relationship to the scene, such as one's weaknesses for which we should imitate Jesus and Mary.

1. On the single bead (the centerpiece serves this purpose for the 1st decade), an Our Father

2. On each of the ten beads, a Hail Mary

3, On the space after the decade, the Glory Be.

4. Finally, the Fátima Prayer. While the “Decade Prayer” is not a formal part of the Rosary, it has become customary to pray it as requested in 1917 by Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima.

This pattern is then repeated for each of the subsequent mysteries of the Rosary.

The Concluding Prayers

After completed all the decades, it is usual to say the Hail, Holy Queen, and other prayers according to custom, though these are not formally part of the Rosary, nor obligatory. They are given in the customary order.

1. Hail Holy Queen, with its Versicle and Response.

2. The Rosary Prayer

3. St. Michael's Prayer

4. Prayers for the intentions of the Pope. This is necessary to gain the Plenary Indulgence attached to the Rosary said in a group. It may be the Creed and an Our Father, or an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, or even other prayers for his intention. A partial Indulgence is gained by an individual who says the Rosary.

5. Sacred and Immaculate Heart Prayers.
(At Fatima Our Lady said that God desired these devotions alongside each other.)

The Rosary is then concluded as it began, With the Sign of the Cross.

Texts of the Prayers

The Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. 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.

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 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
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.

The Fátima Prayer:

O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

Salve Regina/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.

Versicle & Response

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

The Rosary Prayer

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 while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Other Commonly Used Prayers:

St. Michael's Prayer

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prayers for the Pope

Required for the Plenary Indulgence granted to the faithful who devoutly recite the Marian rosary in a church or oratory, in a family, religious community, association of the faithful or gathered together for some honest purpose. Also, joining the Holy Father's recitation by radio or TV. It must be five decades continuously prayed, together with, or joined to, meditation on the mysteries. A partial indulgence otherwise. (Apostolic Penitentiary, Manual of Indulgences, 2006, Grant 17)

The Prayer for the intention of Pope is satisfied by an Our Father and Hail Mary, or “any other prayeraccoding to individual piety and dvotion, if recited for this purpose.” (Manual, norm N20, 5.)

Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us.

Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us.

(optionally) Just Heart of Joseph, pray for us.

The Holy Rosary | EWTN (2024)


What is today's mystery for the rosary? ›

According to his suggestion, the four sets of mysteries might be prayed on the following days: the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Saturday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday and Sunday, and the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday.

What is the prayer that is prayed most on the rosary? ›

The Hail Mary prayer is the heart of the Rosary. We pray 10 Hail Mary's within each of the five decades – totaling 50 Hail Mary prayers at the end of your devotion. This prayer, in which we ask Mary for her intercession, is also rooted in Scripture.

Is it okay to pray Rosary during adoration? ›

Our Lord appreciates the sacrifice you make in coming to church to spend time in His presence. There is no right or wrong way to pray during Adoration. It may be helpful to use a prayer book, or read Scripture, or another spiritual book, or pray the rosary.

What happens if you say the rosary? ›

Praying the Rosary allows us to encounter Mary and to enter the mysteries of Jesus Christ. From his Incarnation, to the Cross, to the Resurrection, we come to understand that God has revealed himself and saved us. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, continue to inspire us to a life of discipleship.

What is the new mystery of the rosary? ›

The new mysteries of the Rosary, called "Mysteries of Light," are a message of enlightenment in their own right. They are called "mysteries of light" because they shed light on who Jesus Christ is. He is a light figure. He brings light into the world.

What do the 5 mysteries of the rosary mean? ›

The First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection of Jesus. The Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension of Jesus. The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit. The Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption of Mary. The Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

What does Jesus say about praying the rosary? ›

Q: Is there a biblical basis for the Rosary? A: As you know the bible does "not" tell us to pray the Rosary because this form of prayer originated only during the middle ages.

What happens when you say "hail mary"? ›

The Hail Mary is a prayer of praise for and of petition to Mary, regarded as the Theotokos (Mother of God). Since the 16th century, the version of the prayer used in the Catholic Church closes with an appeal for her intercession. The prayer takes different forms in various traditions and has often been set to music.

Which rosary is said at a funeral? ›

Most often at a funeral vigil on the eve before a funeral, a family member leads the rosary using the Glorious Mysteries as they pray for the eternal life of their departed loved one.

Should I kneel when praying the rosary? ›

You can stand, kneel, or sit—or if you are sick you may lie down. A family or a group—even two or three—can join together to pray the rosary. Offer every rosary—or every decade—for your special intentions.

Is it frowned upon to wear a rosary? ›

The Rosary is a holy item and should be handled with reverence. Wear the Rosary with pride and reverence, knowing it reminds you of your Catholic faith.

What not to do during adoration? ›

Nothing is to be placed on the altar and the Monstrance holding our Lord should not be touched. Please do not bring food or drink to Adoration (including chewing gum or candy). Children 13 years and younger should not be left unattended. Spiritual reading material provided should not be removed from the church.

What time of the day should I pray the rosary? ›

Some people prefer to pray the Rosary first thing in the morning, after they wake up. Other people prefer to pray the Rosary at night, right before they go to sleep. You can also pray the Rosary during your lunch break or on your commute to work or school.

How powerful is praying the rosary? ›

It's a powerful prayer, they say, one that can change your life, strengthen the family, bring peace to the world, convert entire nations, and win the salvation of souls.

Who created the rosary? ›

Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ.

What is the mystery when saying the Rosary? ›

The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ's life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Saint John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.

What is the 5 Glorious Mystery? ›

Fifth Glorious Mystery: The crowning of Our Lady Queen of Heaven. "And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (Rev 12:1 ).

Why do we pray the Rosary today? ›

Many great popes, saints, and Christian leaders have exhorted us to pray the rosary. It's a powerful prayer, they say, one that can change your life, strengthen the family, bring peace to the world, convert entire nations, and win the salvation of souls.

What Rosary mystery is today Thursday? ›

The Rosary prayed on Thursday is the Luminous Mysteries. The Five Luminous Mysteries, instituted by Pope John Paul II in 2002, are traditionally prayed on Thursdays.

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