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How to Pray the Rosary: Catholic Answers Guide to the Holy Rosary

Learn to pray the rosary. It’s easy.

What is the Rosary?

The rosary is a Christ-centered prayer, rooted in Sacred Scripture, that helps us meditate on the lives of Jesus and Mary. The rosary is a Catholic devotion in which we ask for the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, in drawing closer to her divine Son, Jesus. When praying the rosary, you use a string of beads to keep track of your progress through the prayers.

Download Catholic Answers Guide How to Pray the Rosary.

Why Pray the Rosary?

Anyone can pray the rosary and people pray it for many reasons everyday. Many people pray the rosary to seek assistance from the Virgin Mary. They ask for help with situations such as having a sick or deceased friend or family member.

People use the rosary to ask for help with various intentions. For example, these intentions include world peace, stopping abortion, or praying for souls in Purgatory.

Ultimately, we pray the rosary to grow closer to God and praying the rosary is not just for challenges or difficulties. Praying the rosary helps us fortify our Catholic beliefs and strengthen our bond with Jesus Christ.

How to Pray the Rosary

Step One

Start with making the Sign of the Cross.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Step Two

While holding the cross on your rosary, begin 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; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; 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.

Step Three

Move to the first bead and pray 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. Amen.

Step Four

Now, pray a Hail Mary for the next three beads, asking for more faith, hope, and love, which are important theological virtues.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Step Five

Next you will pray a 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.

Step Six

Announce the first mystery. (Mysteries of the Rosary Week Guide) Read a reflection for a rosary devotional book if you have one.

Monday and Saturday: Joyful Mysteries [The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Presentation, Finding Jesus in the Temple]
Tuesday and Friday: Sorrowful Mysteries [The Agony in the Garden, The Scourging at the Pillar, Jesus is Crowned with Thorns, Jesus Carries His Cross, The Crucifixion]
Wednesday and Sunday: Glorious Mysteries [The Resurrection, The Ascension of Jesus to Heaven, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption of Mary in Heaven, Mary is Crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth]
Thursday: Luminous Mysteries [The Baptism of Jesus, The Wedding Feast at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration, The Institution of the Eucharist]

Step Seven

Say an Our Father on the large bead.

Step Eight

For each of the next ten small beads, pray a Hail Mary and meditate on the mystery for this decade.

Step Nine

After the last Hail Mary, say the Glory Be followed by the Fatima Prayer.

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. Amen.

Step Ten

Follow this sequence for the remaining four decades. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer.

Step Eleven

Next you’ll say the Hail Holy Queen.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, 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 vale 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. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Step Twelve

Complete the Rosary with this final prayer and the Sign of the Cross:

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.

Further Reading & Videos:

Encountering Jesus Through the Rosary
The rosary reaffirms that Catholicism, properly understood, begins and ends with Jesus. The saving ministry of Jesus is the motivation and main objective of the rosary.

The Rosary – Origins & More
Learn about the history of the Rosary and the contemplative nature of praying the Rosary.

Did the Church always have a devotion to Mary before the rosary?
Watch this short video where Trent Horn answers a caller’s question: “Did the Church always have a devotion to Mary before the discovery of the rosary?

Quick Q & A
See why the rosary isn’t what the bible refers to as “vain repetitions.”

20 Answers: The Rosary
20 Answers: The Rosary reveals the history of this venerable devotion (and how it’s not an act of idolatrous “Mary-worship”), explains the gospel mysteries that it dwells on, and shows you how to pray it more fervently to unlock the graces that God wants to deliver through it.

Understanding Mary the Mother of God Free Video Series
Mary, the Mother of God: What’s all the fuss about? What about terms like Co-Redemptrix, the Assumption, the new Ark of the Covenant, and perpetual virginity? Learn more.

Buy a Rosary
Lifetime Rosaries are crafted with the highest quality materials available to last for the rest of your earthly journey. Order a rosary that reflects the strength and beauty of your devotion to Our Blessed Mother!

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