The Holy Rosary

The Rosary, which means “crown of roses” is a form of prayer used in the Catholic Church as a way to meditate and contemplate on the life of Jesus Christ and his mother, Mary.

It involves repeating a set series of prayers while contemplating on specific events or “mysteries” from their lives.

These prayers are recited in a particular sequence using a string of beads, also called a rosary, to keep track.

The beads help guide the prayer through the different parts.

The Structure of Praying The Rosary

To pray the Rosary in a simple and straightforward way, follow these steps.

This structure is designed for ease of use, guiding through each part of the prayer with the rosary beads as your guide.

  1. Starting the Rosary:
    You need to begin the prayer on the short strand of the rosary.
    • Begin with the Sign of the Cross and then say “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
    • Recite the Apostles’ Creed while holding the cross or crucifix on the rosary in your hand.

      “I believe in one 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. Amen.”

  2. On the First Large Bead:
    • Say the Lord’s Prayer for the intentions of the Catholic Church and the pope.

  3. On the Next Three Beads:
    • Pray the Hail Mary on each bead, focusing on the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

  4. Before the Next Large Bead:
    • Recite 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.”

  5. Praying the Decades (Repeat for Each Mystery):
    • Announce the mystery (e.g., “The First Glorious Mystery – the Resurrection of Jesus”).
    • On the large bead, say the Lord’s Prayer.
    • On the next ten small beads, pray the Hail Mary for each bead.
    • Conclude with the Glory Be (and the Fatima Prayer if desired) before moving to the next large bead.

  6. Concluding the Rosary:
    • After the last decade, pray the Hail Holy Queen.
    • End with the Sign of the Cross.

      At the end of the Rosary, the Loreto Litany or some other Marian prayer is recited.

This basic structure helps you navigate through the Rosary prayer with the beads, focusing on the mysteries and intentions with each prayer.

Mysteries of the Rosary

The Mysteries of the Rosary are a set of events from the lives of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, which are contemplated during the recitation of the Rosary.

They are divided into four categories, each with five events, making a total of 20 Mysteries.

These categories help focus the prayer on different aspects of the Christian faith and the life of Jesus and Mary.

Here’s a simple breakdown:

  1. The Joyful Mysteries

    These focus on the joyful events related to the Incarnation and early life of Jesus.

    – The Annunciation (when Mary was told she would give birth to Jesus)
    Fruit of the mystery: Humility

    – The Visitation (Mary’s visit to Elizabeth) Fruit of the mystery: Love of Neighbor

    The Nativity (the birth of Jesus) Fruit of the mystery: Poverty

    – The Presentation (presenting Jesus at the Temple)
    Fruit of the mystery: Purity of Heart and Body

    – The Finding in the Temple (finding Jesus in the Temple).
    Fruit of the mystery: Devotion to Jesus

  2. The Luminous Mysteries or “Mysteries of Light”
    These were added by Pope John Paul II in 2002. They focus on the public ministry of Jesus. These are as follows:

    – The Baptism in the Jordan – Fruit of the mystery: Openness to the Holy Spirit

    – The Wedding at Cana (where Jesus performed his first miracle)
    Fruit of the mystery: To Jesus through Mary

    – The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God – Fruit of the mystery: Conversion

    – The Transfiguration (Jesus revealing his glory to some apostles)
    Fruit of the mystery: Desire for holiness

    – The Institution of the Eucharist (Last Supper) – Fruit of the mystery: Adoration

  3. The Sorrowful Mysteries

    Contemplate the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ.
    – The Agony in the Garden (Jesus praying in Gethsemane)
    Fruit of the mystery: Obedience to God’s Will

    – The Scourging at the Pillar (Jesus being whipped)
    Fruit of the mystery: Mortification

    – The Crowning with Thorns (Jesus being mocked with a crown of thorns)
    Fruit of the mystery: Courage

    – The Carrying of the Cross
    Fruit of the mystery: Patience

    – The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus.
    Fruit of the mystery: Sorrow for our Sins

  4. The Glorious Mysteries

    The Five Glorious Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Wednesdays and, outside the seasons of Advent and Lent, on Sundays.

    These reflect on the Resurrection and the glorification of Jesus and Mary.

    – The Resurrection (Jesus rising from the dead) Fruit of the mystery: Faith

    – The Ascension (Jesus ascending to Heaven) Fruit of the mystery: Hope

    – The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Holy Spirit coming upon the apostles and Mary)
    Fruit of the mystery: Wisdom

    – The Assumption (Mary being taken to Heaven)
    Fruit of the mystery: Devotion to Mary

    – The Coronation (Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven).
    Fruit of the mystery: Grace of a happy death

Each set of Mysteries is meant to lead the person praying into deeper reflection on the life and mission of Jesus and Mary, enriching their faith and spiritual life.

It was suggested by Pope Saint John Paul II that the Rosary should be recited as follows:

  • JOYFUL mysteries Monday and Saturday
  • LUMINOUS on Thursday
  • SORROWFUL on Tuesday and Friday
  • GLORIOUS on Wednesday and Sunday (with this exception; Sundays of Advent and Christmas
  • JOYFUL; Sundays of Lent – the SORROWFUL).