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How to Pray the Rosary
Guide to A Most Powerful Prayer

how to pray the rosary
Sassoferrato - The Virgin In Prayer - 1640

If you want to learn how to pray the Rosary, you have come to the right place, and if you apply the methods and explanations used here, you will successfully learn the most powerful prayer for individuals and prayer groups alike.

How do I know you will be successful?

I know you will be successful because, in 2012, I began to pray the Rosary every day.  I used the same methods that are offered here.  I used the same pdf documents that are available here. I recited the proper Rosary assigned to the appropriate day.  I recited the same prayers that are listed in these same Rosaries.  And I recited the same scriptures in these Mysteries that are available to you.  Our Lady made herself known after seven days.  What more proof does one need?

How do I know this is the most powerful prayer?

I know the Rosary is the most powerful prayer because when I walked into a bookstore in 2012, a voice spoke to me and said, “I want you to meet my family.” I left with a copy of Our Lady of Kibeho and began reading it two weeks later. This is where my incredible journey with the Blessed Virgin Mary started. This journey included my introduction to and daily recitation of the Rosary, several encounters with the Blessed Mother, audible and otherwise, signal graces, a bout with alcohol addiction, a widow maker heart attack I suffered on a golf course and died, survived with no physical damage, a conversion to Catholicism, a trip to Medjugorje, and more. If what I just stated is taken as bragging, it is not my intention. I went through a lot, and the Rosary was the beginning.

My life since 2012 has been abundantly full with some incredible peaks and valleys. I am here to show you how to get started if you want to have a chance to walk the same path as I have. It all begins with the Rosary, the prayer, and mysteries, some of which people have used since 1214, according to St. Louis de Montfort. This prayer is also my connection to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She states in Locutions to the World:

“I give you the Rosary.  The Rosary will link you to one another and will chain you to me.  Yes, chain you to me with chains of love which will never be broken.

The Rosary was just what I needed.

Table of Contents

What is the Rosary?

The Rosary is a significant prayer practice in the Catholic faith, deeply rooted in tradition and spirituality. It serves as a means of connecting with God while reflecting on the critical events in the life of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. This prayer is structured around a set sequence of prayers and meditations, providing believers with a framework for spiritual contemplation and devotion.

At the core of the Rosary are four main prayers:  the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and the Fatima Prayer. These prayers are repeated in a specific pattern and organized into groups known as decades. Each decade consists of an Our Father, ten Hail Mary prayers, a Glory Be, and a Fatima Prayer. This repetition fosters a sense of focus and meditation, guiding individuals through a reflective journey.

Accompanying the prayers are meditations on the Rosary Decade Mysteries, which are pivotal events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. The Rosary Mysteries are divided into four categories: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries, and the Luminous Mysteries (introduced by Pope John Paul II). Each category comprises five distinct events in a Mystery. For example, the Joyful Mysteries contain the following events: the Annunciation of Mary, the Visitation of Mary, the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and Finding Jesus in the Temple. As believers recite the prayers, they meditate on these mysteries, pondering their significance and drawing inspiration from the examples of Jesus and Mary.

The Rosary is often prayed using a string of beads, whose purpose is to help individuals keep track of the prayers and meditations. Each bead represents a specific prayer or meditation, allowing those who practice the recitation of the Rosary to move through the sequence with ease and focus. This enhances the prayer experience, enabling participants to engage their minds and bodies in worship.

The Rosary holds profound spiritual significance for Catholics, offering a pathway to deeper intimacy with God and Mary. Through regular practice, believers seek solace, guidance, and strength, finding comfort in the familiar rhythms of prayer and the timeless truths of the Gospel. Ultimately, the Rosary serves as a sacred tradition, uniting believers across generations in a shared expression of faith and devotion.

Definitions

Some of the terms used to describe the Rosary create confusion.  One of these terms is mysteries, because mysteries can refer to Rosary Mysteries or they can refer to Decade Mysteries.  There are five definitions below that we will use to describe the parts of the Rosary and these definitions are only meant for the purposes of understanding the Rosary.

Rosary Mysteries – one of the four (4) mysteries of the Rosary.  The first three were given by the Virgin Mary from the trinity in 1214 to St. Dominic (according to St. Louis de Montfort), which includes the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries.  The Luminous Mysteries were given to us by John Paul II in 2002.

Decade Mysteries – five (5) events in the life of Jesus and Mary contained in each Rosary Mystery.

Opening Prayers – prayers recited at the beginning of the Rosary.

Decade Prayers – prayers recited after each decade Mystery.

Closing Prayers – prayers recited at the end of the Rosary.

Structure of the Rosary

The Rosary is made up of Mysteries (events in the life of Jesus and his mother Mary) and Prayers. There are four different sets of Rosary Mysteries (the Joyful, the Sorrowful, the Glorious and the Luminous) and each Rosary Mystery contains opening prayers, a set of five Decade Mysteries or events from the life of Jesus and Mary, and a set of decade prayers, and  closing prayers.

Each Rosary Mystery follows the same structured format, it’s just that the Mysteries change. To learn how to pray the Rosary, it is the recognition of this format that is important. The Format follows:

What are Prayers of the Rosary?

There are three sections of prayers.  Opening prayers are said at the beginning of the Rosary before any Mysteries are said. Decade Prayers are said after each Decade Mystery is completed.  Closing Prayers are said at the completion of all Decade Mysteries.

What are Decade Mysteries?

Each Set of Rosary Mysteries contains five individual Decade Mysteries. Following each individual Decade Mystery, the Decade Prayers are recited.

Rosary Mystery Structure

Opening Prayers     

Queen of the Holy Rosary
Sign of the Cross
Apostles Creed
Our Father
Hail Mary (3)
Glory Be to the Father
Fatima Prayer

Mysteries & Decade Prayers

First Decade Mystery
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Second Decade Mystery
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Third Decade Mystery
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Fourth Decade Mystery
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Fifth Decade Mystery
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Closing Prayers

Salve Regina
Sign of the Cross
Rosary Closing Prayer
Fatima Pardon Prayer

Total Prayer Count 78

Scripture based Rosary

In Scripture based Rosaries, the scriptures are read aloud.  In my experience this will extend the time it takes to say one entire Rosary Mystery, such as the Joyful Mysteries to, roughly 45 minutes, but it is well worth the time invested.  Our Lady asks us to read scripture daily in numerous apparitions, and that is we are doing that when we pray a scripture-based rosary; although limiting ourselves to Rosary scripture is not what she has in mind.

The Complete Rosary Mysteries

Joyful Mysteries

Opening Prayers                                

Queen of the Holy Rosary                           
Sign of the Cross                                                       
Apostles Creed                                             
Our Father
Hail Mary (3)                                                  
Glory Be to the Father
Fatima Prayer

Mysteries & Decade Prayers

Annunciation of Mary
Decade Prayers (Meditate on the Annunciation of Mary Mystery)

Our Father
Hail Mary (10)
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

Visitation of Mary
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Nativity of Jesus
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Finding Jesus in the Temple
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Closing Prayers

Salve Regina
Sign of the Cross
Rosary Closing Prayer
Fatima Pardon Prayer

Sorrowful Mysteries

Opening Prayers                                

Queen of the Holy Rosary                           
Sign of the Cross                                                       
Apostles Creed                                             
Our Father
Hail Mary (3)                                                  
Glory Be to the Father
Fatima Prayer

Mysteries & Decade Prayers
Agony in the Garden
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Scourging at the Pillar
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Crowning with Thorns
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Carrying the Cross
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Crucifixion of Christ
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Closing Prayers

Salve Regina
Sign of the Cross
Rosary Closing Prayer
Fatima Pardon Prayer

Glorious Mysteries

Opening Prayers                                

Queen of the Holy Rosary                           
Sign of the Cross                                                       
Apostles Creed                                             
Our Father
Hail Mary (3)                                                  
Glory Be to the Father
Fatima Prayer

Mysteries & Decade Prayers
Resurrection of Jesus
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Ascension of Jesus
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Pentecost
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Assumption of Mary
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Coronation of Mary
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Closing Prayers

Salve Regina
Sign of the Cross
Rosary Closing Prayer
Fatima Pardon Prayer

Luminous Mysteries

Opening Prayers                                

Queen of the Holy Rosary                           
Sign of the Cross                                                       
Apostles Creed                                             
Our Father
Hail Mary (3)                                                  
Glory Be to the Father
Fatima Prayer

Mysteries & Decade Prayers
Baptism of Jesus
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Wedding at Cana
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Declaring the Kingdom
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Transfiguration of Jesus
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

The Eucharist
Decade Prayers           Our Father, Hail Mary (10), Glory Be, Fatima Prayer

Closing Prayers

Salve Regina
Sign of the Cross
Rosary Closing Prayer
Fatima Pardon Prayer

How to Pray the Rosary - Using Beads

Rosary beads are a tool used in Catholic prayer to help keep count of the prayers being said. They consist of a string of beads with a cross or crucifix attached to one end. Rosary beads are used primarily for reciting prayers known as the Rosary.

Father Cashmore explains the Rosary beads

Rosary PDF Documents and Guides

We offer PDF documents for each Rosary Mystery that you can freely download, print, and share. Whether you’re just starting to pray the Rosary or have been doing it for some time, these guides are designed to assist you.

When I began praying the Rosary, I knew very little about it. I hadn’t even seen Rosary beads and I had never seen the Rosary in print. I scoured the Internet to find a printable version that I liked, one that was a straight read-through, that I could use daily to learn the Rosary. To my dismay, I could not find one. So, I created my own guide to lead me through each Mystery.  

I would take these pdf documents, and on my knees, read them.  Like I mentioned earlier, it took about 45 minutes.  Some may say “but reading them is not the same as praying them by heart.” To that I say Our Lady came one week after I started, and I experienced the Odor of Sanctification in my bathroom.  It did not matter to her or she would have never come.  

Now, these same guides I use (I still use them today) are available for you to use.
You can access them through the links provided below.  Feel free to download, print, and share these guides with anyone who might find them helpful. They’re meant for everyone to benefit from and enjoy.

Joyful Mystery PDF

Sorrowful Mystery PDF

Glorious Mystery PDF

Luminous Mystery PDF

Daily Rosary

Modern

The Modern version of the Rosary includes the Luminous Mysteries add by Pope John Paul II in 2004.  The Modern version is as follows:

Monday Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Tuesday Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Thursday Rosary – The Luminous Mysteries

Friday Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Saturday Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Sunday Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Traditional

The traditional version of the Rosary does not include the Luminous Mysteries add by Pope John Paul II in 2004.  The Traditional version is as follows:

Monday  – The Joyful Mysteries

Tuesday – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday – The Glorious Mysteries

Thursday – The Joyful Mysteries

Friday – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Saturday – The Glorious Mysteries

Sunday 

The Joyful Mysteries – During Advent, Christmastide and Time After Epiphany

The Sorrowful Mysteries – During Septuagesima and Lent

The Glorious Mysteries – During Eastertide and Time after Pentecost 

Lists of Rosary Prayers

All Prayers of the Rosary

At the heart of the Rosary are the prayers, which include the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and the Fatima Prayer. Each of these prayers holds significance and serves as a foundation for the devotion of the Rosary. 

If these prayers are unknown to the reader, memorization of at least the decade prayers to start, should be a consideration.

All are listed below in their entirety.

Queen of the Holy Rosary Prayer

Queen of the Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and of Russia, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary.

(Mention your request here)

I ask it for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of souls, especially for my own. Amen.

Learn more about the Queen of the Holy Rosary Prayer.

Sign of the Cross

In the Name Of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  (As you say this, with your right hand touch your forehead when you say Father, touch your breastbone when you say Son, touch your left shoulder when you say Holy, and touch your right shoulder when you say Spirit.)

Learn more about the Sign of the Cross Prayer.

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 sits 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.

Learn more about the Apostles Creed Prayer.

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

Learn more about the Our Father Prayer.

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 our death. Amen.

Learn more about the Hail Mary Prayer.

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.

Learn more about the Glory Be Prayer.

Fatima Prayer

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.  Amen.

Learn more about the Fatima Prayer.

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 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.

Learn more about the Salve Regina Prayer.

Rosary Closing Prayer

O God whose only begotten Son has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, Grant that we beseech Thee while meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord   Amen.

Learn more about the Rosary Closing Prayer.

Fatima Pardon Prayer

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee. Amen.

Learn more about the Fatima Pardon Prayer.

Lists of Rosary Mysteries

All Rosary Mysteries and Decade Mysteries

Joyful Mysteries

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary depict significant events in the lives of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary that are filled with joy and anticipation. These mysteries invite believers to reflect on the profound joy and hope that accompany the coming of Jesus into the world and Mary’s central role in God’s plan of redemption. They remind us of the humility, faith, and obedience exemplified by Mary and encourage us to emulate these virtues in our own lives. The decade Mysteries are:

Annunciation of Mary

Visitation of Mary

Nativity of Jesus

Presentation of Jesus in the temple

Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Sorrowful Mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary depict poignant moments in the life of Jesus Christ, focusing on his suffering and sacrifice for humanity. These mysteries invite believers to reflect on the immense love and mercy of God, who sent his only son to die for our sins. They call us to contemplate the depth of Jesus’ suffering and to remember the power of his resurrection that restores hope and redemption for all. The sorrowful mysteries are:

Agony in the Garden

Scourging at the Pillar

Crowning with Thorns

Carrying of the Cross

Crucifixion of Christ

Glorious Mysteries

The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary illustrate moments of triumph and glory in the lives of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary. The Glorious Mysteries invite believers to contemplate the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, as well as the exalted status of Mary in the divine plan of salvation. They inspire faith, hope, and devotion, reminding us of the promise of eternal life and the joy that awaits those who remain faithful to God. The Glorious Mysteries are:

Resurrection of Jesus

Ascension of Jesus

Pentecost

Assumption of Mary

Coronation of Mary

Luminous Mysteries

The Luminous Mysteries invite believers to reflect on the revelation of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and the light of the world. They highlight key aspects of Jesus’ ministry, teaching, and sacramental presence among his people, inviting us to deepen our relationship with him and to share his light with others.

Baptism of Jesus

Wedding at Cana

Declaring the Kingdom

Transfiguration of Jesus

The Eucharist

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