How to Pray the Rosary
The Rosary is an iconic Catholic prayer. Even non-Catholics are familiar with the strings of beads and crucifix that comprise this sacramental. But why do Catholics pray the Rosary? And how exactly is it prayed? Is it really just a mindless recitation of the same words, over and over? Who is supposed to pray the Rosary-- just grandmas and nuns? What is the spiritual benefit? And how exactly is it prayed?
You've come to the right place. Here you will find some easy resources to help you start to pray the Rosary, and some answers to commonly asked questions about the Rosary.
What is involved when praying the Rosary?
The Rosary is comprised of two basic types of prayer: vocal and mental.
While you recite basic Catholic prayers like the Hail Mary and Our Father, you contemplate the mysteries, which are the events of Jesus' & Mary's lives as told in the Gospels.
Where do the beads come in?
Rosary beads are used to help you keep track of the prayers as you say them. One full Rosary consists of:
- 1 Apostles Creed
- 6 Our Fathers
- 53 Hail Marys
- 6 Glory Bes
- 1 Hail Holy Queen
...and a few other optional prayers. The beads help you keep your place!
Explain these "mysteries"...
There are certain events in the lives of Jesus and Mary that we contemplate while we recite the prayers. Each day is assigned a certain set of mysteries, and each decade (or set of ten Hail Marys) is assigned a mystery. For example, on Tuesdays and Fridays we contemplate the sorrowful mysteries, which are the events of the passion and death of Jesus. The first mystery is The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. So, while we pray that Our Father and ten Hail Marys, we think about Jesus being in the garden, undergoing temptation, and enduring great suffering on our behalf.
Below, you will find a graphic that is a quick reference for the mysteries to be prayed for each day of the week.
Why pray the Rosary when there are so many other ways to pray?
The simple answer: Mary herself asked us to! She appeared to St. Dominic and gave him 15 Promises to those who pray the Rosary. When she appeared to the children in Fatima in 1917, she also told them that the faithful needed to be praying the Rosary daily. That's a pretty solid endorsement!
Who should be praying the Rosary?
The Rosary is not just a prayer for nuns, priests, and old Catholic grandmas! ALL Catholics should be making the Rosary a part of their prayer lives. The graces received from faithful recitation of the Rosary are numerous, and it's never too late to start incorporating the Rosary into your spiritual practice.
“The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.” ~St. Josemaria Escriva
Where should I start?
Right here, right now! If you don't have a rosary on hand, just use your ten fingers! Below we have some quick guides easy to save to your phone, tablet, or desktop, to help guide you through the mysteries and the prayers. You can always start with just one Decade at a time (10 Hail Marys) to get into it, and build from there. The one thing we guarantee: you will not regret the time you spend talking to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother through recitation of the Rosary.