How to pray the Rosary

Orange diocese offers step-by-step, illustrated guide


The following comes from a December 8 Orange County Catholic article:

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. 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 Pope John Paul II in 2002—the Luminous.

The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s spirit dwells. The Rosary can be said privately or with a group.

The list below identifies the beads on which prayers are said.
1. Sign of the Cross
2. Crucifix
3. First bead
4. Three beads
5. Glory Be
6. Mysteries
7. Five decades
8. Hail, Holy Queen

Begin the prayers, following the steps below.
1. Make the Sign of the Cross.
2. Holding the Crucifix, say the Apostles’ Creed.
3. On the first bead, say an Our Father.
4. Say one Hail Mary on each of the next three beads.
5. Say the Glory Be.
6. For each of the five decades, announce the Mystery (perhaps followed by a brief reading from Scripture) then say the Our Father.

7. Say a Hail Mary for each of the 10 beads in each decade while meditating on the Mystery. Then say a Glory Be. (After finishing each decade, some say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: 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.)

8. After saying the five decades, say the Hail, Holy Queen, followed by this dialogue and prayer:

1. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
2. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: 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 while 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.

The five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays of Advent:
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple

The five Sorrowful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Tuesdays, Fridays, and 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 and Death

The five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Wednesday and Sundays outside of Lent and Advent:
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation of Mary

The five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:
1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan
2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist


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.

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.

The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you;
blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners
now and at the hour of our death.

The Glory Be (The Doxology)
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Hail, Holy Queen (The Salve Regina)
Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to you we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


  1. Faithfully praying the rosary will change your life. With Christmas giving in the offing, maybe you know someone for whom a rosary would be the perfect gift! And don’t be shy about parting with your own beads, if a situation arises. The person who receives your rosary will not forget your gesture.

  2. Thank you CCD!

  3. “Faithfully praying the rosary will change your life.” : > )

    Great post and great suggestions Kristin!

    Yes, thank you CCD!

  4. St. Christopher says:

    The “Luminous” mysteries are not “traditionally” prayed at any time.

    St. JPII did not require these, they are only recommended. The Vatican II NewChurch, however, now insists that the Luminous are with us forever.

    St. Dominic received the Rosary from our Blessed Mother. She also spoke of the “fifteen” mysteries at Fatima (but the NewChurch does not care; the “Apparition” does not require belief).

    Have you no shame?

  5. Why is it that some retain the traditional translation of the Our Father but insist upon using a newer version of the Hail Mary and The Hail, Holy Queen?

  6. I agree with Gravey. Also, it would have been better if the rosary that was shown in this article actually had a Crucifix and not merely a cross. We were not saved by the cross, but by Christ on the cross (Christ crucified )

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COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.