The Catholic Rosary

Note:  An audio recitation of the rosary is in the audio prayer section.  Just click the link.


The rosary is divided into five groups of ten beads called decades. As we pray the 

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rosary we meditate on the events of Our Lord’s life and Passion, which are called Mysteries. The repetition of the prayers assists in this prayerful meditation. The rosary, in essence, is a compendium of the Gospel and leads us, through the intercession of Our Lady, to contemplate Jesus Christ.

Begin by praying the Sign of the Cross.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

1. On the crucifix pray 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. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty. He shall 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.

2. Begin the rosary with 1 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.

3. Pray three (3) Hail Marys for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and love, and follow with a Glory Be.
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.

4. Next, you will begin to pray the Mysteries, or decades, of the Rosary.
It is suggested you focus on the mysteries according to the day of the week you are praying.

Joyful – Monday and Saturday
Glorious – Wednesday and Sunday
Sorrowful – Tuesday and Friday
Luminous – Thursday
[Read details on the mysteries of the rosary]

4a. Announce the first mystery (Ex: “The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation.”)
4b. Pray one Our Father

5. Follow with ten (10) Hail Mary’s for each of the 10 beads in the decade
5a. After, pray one (1) Glory Be
5b. Conclude the decade with the Fatima 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. Amen. [Read about the prayers of Fatima here.]

6. Repeat all of step 4 to begin the second decade.

7. Repeat all of step 5 to finish the second decade.

8-13. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the remaining three decades.

14. Lastly, pray the Hail Holy Queen and the concluding prayer.
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 vale 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. Amen. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.?R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
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 by meditating upon 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.

The Anglican (Episcopal) Rosary

Anglican Rosary

The Anglican (Episcopal) Rosary is made up of a Cross or Crucifix and a total of 33 beads; 1 Invitatory Bead, 4 Cruciform Beads and 4 groups of 7 Week Beads. The design is rich in symbolism reminding the user of key tenets of Christian faith and tradition.

The total number of beads is 33, the number of years of Christ’s life on earth, reminding us that Christ is the source of our faith. The Cross recalls the saving grace of God; that God acts in our lives to bring us into the Kingdom of God. The Invitatory bead calls us to prayer; to pray without ceasing. leading into the main prayer string, where we offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Unlike the traditional rosary used by Roman Catholics, which focuses on the seminal events in the life of Christ and asks the Virgin Mary to pray for their intentions, Anglican prayer beads are most often used as a tactile aid to prayer and as a counting device. The standard Anglican set consists of the following pattern, starting with the cross, followed by the Invitatory Bead, and subsequently, the first Cruciform bead, moving to the right, through the first set of seven beads to the next Cruciform bead, continuing around the circle. He or she may conclude by saying the Lord’s prayer on the invitatory bead and/or a final prayer on the cross as in the examples below. The entire circle may be done thrice, which signifies the Holy Trinity.

Traditional Devotion

The Cross: In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Invitatory: O God make speed to save me, O Lord make haste to help me, Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciforms: Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon me.
The Weeks: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner.

The Lord’s Prayer: 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. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
The Cross: Bless us o Lord. Thanks be to God.

Note: Some people prefer to develop their own devotion or simply hold the beads while praying as a focal point to aid their meditation.

The Rosary to Contemplate

Note: This article was sent to me by a Priest in India with whom I keep in touch.  He has written many articles in his native language and wanted to share this with us.

The Rosary to Contemplate

October is the month of the Rosary

By Brother John Singarayar, S.V.D. – The Priest, 10/1/2011

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Prayer is an intimate experience, based on a personal I–Thou relationship. It is a living communication between two persons approaching each other in love and freedom. As a form of Marian prayer, the Rosary has been repeatedly commended by the Holy Mother Church to contemplate the mysteries of Christ from annunciation to resurrection. Here, by mentioning contemplation, I mean that it is the source of the transformation of people who bear values and signs of the Kingdom of God in their lives and who proclaim the experience of Jesus Christ to others by loving, serving and living.

Development: The Rosary prayer was not the result of a single inspiration, nor was it instituted at anytime in a definite and complete form. It came gradually into being as the result of a slow process of growth. Over the course of time it has been subjected to many adaptations, changes, additions and omissions. Its development has been considerably influenced by profane factors. It forms an intimate part of our spiritual and physical make up. Exterior and Interior: First and foremost, prayer is always an event which takes place interiorly in the soul. What happens exteriorly is also prayer, but only insofar as it is an externalization of the prayerful attitude of the soul. The external muttering of the Hail Mary is indeed prayer. As the result of various inquiries, it has been recognized that the muttered, external prayer of the Rosary certainly encourages internal prayer when it is quietly contemplative, unrestrained, emotional and affective.

Free Form of Prayer: The Rosary is a comparatively free form of prayer. We sometimes concentrate our attention on the Hail Mary itself, and its content. Subsequently, we let our mind dwell on the mystery of the same decade. If our attention should wander away from the mystery, the regularity of the constantly repeated formula will spontaneously draw our mind back to the content of the prayer itself.

A Living Experience: Prayer is a living experience, a life of faith, hope and charity to which we must do justice even when we are feeling tired. There is a romantic conception of the rosary that may form the real climax of a concentrated life of prayer, and it truly is a climax for many people. The Rosary is a most commendable form of prayer. It is particularly suitable for those occasions when one’s spirit is worn out, uninterested and lacking energy.

A Blessing: Many Christians are anxious to pray the Rosary often and at the same time well. If that is accomplished, then the Rosary could also be an instrument enabling the soul to make authentic mystical flights at the highest point of such spiritual experience. The beads will slip from the fingers, and the prayer will become purely interior. In this case, the Rosary will serve its purpose. Yes, it is a blessing for many.

A Valuable Form of Prayer: The Rosary animates and constantly renews Christians’ awareness of being in God’s presence even when their spirits are dull and arid and their thoughts distracted. Since we all find ourselves in this sort of situation again and again during the course of our worldly lives, the Rosary will always be a valuable form of prayer for all of us who pursue the Christian life.

Unification of Wills: When we use the Rosary we should allow God to stir us and to penetrate the whole of our being. The essence of every act of prayer is to make our will conform to God’s will. In the case of the Rosary, this is accomplished by a murmuring, almost silent blending of wills.

Dogma and Doctrine: The value of the prayer of the Rosary is found in its concentration on the saving mystery of the Redemption. It was Christ who brought this redemption, but Mary is actively present in an associated manner with the whole of this historical order of salvation. The Rosary is a synthetic Christological creed, a symbol or compendium of dogma and doctrine, in the form of a prayer of meditation, a summary in prayer of the whole of the dogma of the Redemption.

Redemption, Center of the Rosary: The Rosary is clearly a most important weapon for the instruction of the Church community in Christian dogma. The dogmatic faith of the believing community can be confirmed through prayer. In prayer we are able to go back into the past and put ourselves in Mary’s position. The Rosary enables us to follow her development, the growth of her life. In faith and hope we are able to experience all the phases of the mystery of Christ, to proceed from the joys of Mother and her Child, to go beyond the sufferings endured by the Redeemer and His mother and eventually to reach the point where we share in Mary’s happiness in her Son’s victory and triumph. Christ’s redemption is at the center of this Marian prayer. Realization of the Human Condition: God entered the world of humanity, and He not only shared in humanity’s fundamental situation but also provided it with its ultimate phase, thus giving it an entirely new interpretation of human life, death and resurrection. This basic theme of the human condition is seen in the prayer of the Rosary.

Family Prayer: The Rosary plays a vital role in family prayer. It is prayed at home by all the members of the family. What the Rosary does is to lead the whole family. During the praying of the Rosary together, the family is exposed to God. This is a time of special grace when individual members assemble to recite the Rosary together as a family unit. The family experiences God as its unifying factor. The family ties of love become firmer, and the members are more conscious of these ties as being characteristic of the family.

Conclusion: The Rosary seems to me to be not so much the reverse of an activating factor in our spiritual life as it is a reverberation of the life of prayer. It generates fresh spiritual energy in a mind that is quiet, peaceful and perhaps even fatigued. If we, the priests, present it to the young people of today in this light, we will be able to emphasize the Rosary’s lasting value.

FATHER SINGARAYAR, S.V.D. has since been ordained. He belongs to the India Mumbai Province of the Society of the Divine Word, and is also pursuing a masters in archeology. Fr. Saingarayar has written many articles in Catholic journals in India.