The rosary has always been a big part of my life as a Catholic. Growing up, I remember praying it at home with my family, at my neighbor’s house, at funerals, and at school throughout October, which is the month of the Holy Rosary. But how exactly do you pray the rosary? Find out in this article.
To say the rosary, you start with the Apostles’ Creed followed by the Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, and finally, the Glory Be. This will lead you to the “mysteries” or important events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. They are grouped into 4 series, which you’ll recite depending on the day of the week.
So what are these mysteries, and when and how should they be recited? Let’s discuss this in detail below.
How Do You Say the Rosary Step-by-Step Catholic?
To know how to pray the rosary, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out:
1. Do the sign of the cross
Before starting to pray the rosary or any other prayer, you should first do the sign of the cross. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2166): “The Christian begins his prayers and activities with the Sign of the Cross: in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
2. Pray the “Apostles’ Creed”
The first part of praying the rosary is the Apostles’ Creed, which is represented by the rosary’s crucifix. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s how the prayer goes:
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father. 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 the life everlasting. Amen.”
3. Pray the “Our Father”
The next prayer is the Our Father, which is represented in the rosary by a single bead following the crucifix. This prayer goes as follows:
“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.”
4. Pray 3 “Hail Mary”
The next 3 beads represent 3 Hail Marys, and here’s how the prayer goes:
“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. Amen.”
5. Pray the “Glory Be”
With the next single bead, you have to pray the 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.”
6. Pray the first decade
Before proceeding, you have to first recite the appropriate mystery for that day and then pray the “Our Father”. For each of the 10 small beads, you have to pray a Hail Mary. Once that’s done, you end up with the single bead and will have to pray the “Glory Be”.
Others say the “Fatima Prayer” after every decade, which goes as follows: “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.”
7. Do the remaining decades
The next step is to complete the remaining 4 decades following the order: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be, and the Fatima Prayer.
8. Pray the “Hail, Holy Queen”
After completing the 5 decades of the rosary, you have to pray the “Hail, Holy Queen”, which goes as follows:
“Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To you do 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 exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”
9. Do a dialogue and a conclusion prayer
Right after the “Hail, Holy Queen”, do the following dialogue and prayer:
“Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. 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.”
10. Do the sign of the cross
You can then end the rosary with the sign of the cross.
What Are the 4 Mysteries of the Rosary?
There are 20 mysteries or significant events in the lives of Jesus Christ and Mary, which are divided into 4 categories or series:
1. Joyful Mysteries
These mysteries are recited on Mondays and Saturdays. They reflect the happiness of Jesus Christ’s birth and early life. The mysteries included are:
- First Mystery: The Annunciation
- Second Mystery: The Visitation
- Third Mystery: The Nativity
- Fourth Mystery: Presentation in the Temple
- Fifth Mystery: Finding in the Temple
2. Mysteries of Light or Luminous Mysteries
Recited on Thursdays, these mysteries show Christ’s “public ministry between his baptism and his passion”, as described by John Paul II who suggested adding it in 2002 through his letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae. This set of mysteries includes:
- First Mystery: The Baptism in the Jordan
- Second Mystery: The Wedding Feast of Cana
- Third Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
- Fourth Mystery: The Transfiguration
- Fifth Mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist
3. Sorrowful Mysteries
The Sorrowful Mysteries are recited on Tuesdays and Fridays. These mysteries recount Jesus’ passion and death as shown through the following events:
- First Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
- Second Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
- Third Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
- Fourth Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross
- Fifth Mystery: The Crucifixion
4. Glorious Mysteries
Finally, this set of mysteries is recited on Wednesdays and Sundays. It is a series of events that happened after the death of Jesus Christ. It includes the following mysteries:
- First Mystery: The Resurrection
- Second Mystery: The Ascension
- Third Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- Fourth Mystery: The Assumption
- Fifth Mystery: The Crowning of Our Lady Queen of Heaven