The Rosary is a Marian prayer that depicts the Biblical life of Jesus.
Pope John Paul II calls the Rosary a “compendium of the Gospel message” in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, published October 16, 2002.
The Rosary was once thought to originate from the ancient prayer or worry beads of the Middle East and Asia, although these beads largely have 33 beads. Others point to prayer beads as a means to count the 150 Psalms. But it was St. Dominic in 1208 who began to spread devotion to the Rosary.
In 1208 Domingo de Guzman was a Spanish preacher who went to southern France to preserve the faith against the Albigensian heresy. While he was praying for three days in a chapel in Prouille, Dominic saw Mary give him the Rosary and taught him how to pray the Rosary. She also gave 15 promises to St. Dominic for those Christians who recite the rosary.
St. Dominic founded the Dominican Friars, and established monasteries all over the world. The heresy ended during his lifetime. The most famous Dominican was St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), one of greatest theologians of the Catholic Church, the author of Summa Theologica.
This page describes how to say a rosary. The picture above shows the appearance of a rosary. First are the introductory prayers located above the medal: with the Cross you make the Sign of the Cross, and say the Apostles’ Creed. Then one says an Our Father (pink) and three Hail Marys (blue), followed by the Glory and Fatima prayers. Then one announces the First Mystery, and says the Our Father.
Below the Medal are 50 (blue) beads, representing the Hail Mary, separated by 4 (pink) beads, representing the Our Father. Each Our Father and ten Hail Marys comprise one decade of the Rosary, which is said for each of the Five Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. You begin each decade reciting one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, then the Our Father, then ten Hail Marys, then the Glory and Fatima Prayers.
At the end of the Rosary, there are optional prayers that may be said, such as the Hail Holy Queen, the Memorare, and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. One concludes with a petition and then the Sign of the Cross.
The prayers of the Rosary are now listed, followed by a description of the Mysteries of the Rosary.
The Prayers of the Rosary
The Sign of the CrossIn the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The Apostle’s CreedI 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 to the dead, the third day he arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sitteth 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.
Our FatherOur 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.
Hail MaryHail 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.
The Glory PrayerGlory 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.
The Fatima PrayerO my Jesus, please forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.
Hail Holy QueenHail, 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 towards us. And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Oh clement, Oh loving, Oh sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, Oh Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Prayer to St. Michael the ArchangelSt. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
MemorareRemember, O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, our Mother. To you we come; before you we stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in Your mercy, hear and answer us. Amen.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
The Mysteries of the Rosary trace key events in the Biblical life of Jesus.
Remember the foundation of the Rosary is Holy Scripture!
The Traditional 15 Mysteries are divided up into 3 groups of five each, the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. Traditionally, the Joyful Mysteries were said Mondays and Thursdays, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays (and daily during Lent), and the Glorious Mysteries were said Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Sundays. Pope John Paul II leaves the new Mysteries of Light, or the Luminous Mysteries “a matter of choice for the faithful.” We are saying the new Mysteries of Light on Sunday. Some say 15 mysteries of the Rosaries at one sitting, going around the Rosary beads three times, choosing 3 of the 4 groups.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Joyful Mysteries recount the Announcement, Birth, and Childhood of Jesus.
The First Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation, recalling the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she will bear a son conceived by the Holy Spirit [Luke 1:26-38].
The Second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation, recalling Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth [Luke 1:39-45].
The Third Joyful Mystery is the Nativity, the Birth of Our Lord [Luke 2:4-7].
The Fourth Joyful Mystery, the Presentation, recalls the Holy Family’s trip to Jerusalem, when Jesus was twelve years old [Luke 2:22-24].
The Fifth Joyful Mystery recounts the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple [Luke 2:40-52].
The Mysteries of Light or the Luminous Mysteries
The Mysteries of Light recall events in the Life of Christ which brought Light into our world.
The First Mystery of Light is the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan [Matthew 3:13-17].
The Second Mystery of Light is Jesus at the Wedding Feast of Cana [John 2:1-12.
The Third Mystery of Light is Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God with a call to conversion [Mark 1:15].
The Fourth Mystery of Light is the Transfiguration of Jesus [Luke 9:28-36].
The Fifth Mystery of Light is the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper [1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and parallels].
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
The Sorrowful Mysteries recall the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus.
The First Sorrowful Mystery is the Agony in the Garden, when his trusted friends, the Apostles fell asleep, leaving him all alone [Mark 14:32-42].
The Second Sorrowful Mystery is the Scourging at the Pillar at the order of Pontius Pilate [John 19:1-6].
The Third Sorrowful Mystery is the Crowning of Thorns [John 19:1-6].
The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery recalls Jesus’ Carrying of the Cross [Luke 23:26-27].
The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus [Matthew 27:33-54].
The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary
The Glorious Mysteries recount the Resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of the Church.
The First Glorious Mystery is the Resurrection of Jesus [Mark 16:1-8].
The Second Glorious Mystery is the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven [Mark 16:19-20].
The Third Glorious Mystery is the Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles [Acts 2:1-4].
The Fourth Glorious Mystery is the Assumption of Mary into Heaven [Revelation 12:1-6]
The Fifth Glorious Mystery is the Coronation of Mary as the Queen of Heaven [Revelation 12:1-6].