In 2002, Pope John Paul II gave the world a huge gift by adding a fourth set of mysteries: The Luminous Mysterious, also known as the Mysteries of Light.
Learn how to pray the rosary with our clear and simple instructions below.
How does It Work?
While praying the vocal prayers, which are explained below, you simultaneously meditate on each mystery.
For example, if the mystery is the Annunciation, then you would think about the great gift that God bestowed on Our Lady when he sent the angel to inform her that she would be the mother of the Savior!
Make the sign of the cross while holding the crucifix located at the bottom of the rosary. The prayer that generally accompanies this is “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Recite the Apostles Creed, as follows:
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; on the third day, He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sits 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.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: The Apostles Creed is considered to be a summary of the faith and beliefs of Christ’s apostles.
Take the first large bead between your fingers and recite the Our Father prayer, 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.
Alternatively, some people prefer this newer version of the Our Father prayer:
Our Father, Who is in heaven, Holy is Your Name; Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: The Our Father, also known as the Lord’s prayer, comes directly from Jesus in the Bible! When the apostles asked Jesus how they should pray, he gave them this example.
Next, on each of the three small beads, you will recite a Hail Mary, as follows:
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.
Or, here’s a newer version:
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.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: The Hail Mary invokes the intercession of the Blessed Mother. It includes the salutation that the Angel used when he approached Mary, as well as the one used by Elizabeth during the Visitation.
The next bead is a larger one, and on this one you will recite the Glory Be prayer, as follows:
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.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: This prayer gives glory to the Trinity and helps us remember that our souls are eternal.
Hold the first large bead in the main part of the rosary. Announce the mystery of the rosary, like this: “The First Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation.” Then, pray the Our Father.
On each of the next ten small beads, recite a Hail Mary while also meditating on the mystery. These ten beads are known as a decade.
When you come to the next large bead, recite the Glory Be prayer. Many people also include the Fatima Prayer after they say the Glory Be, which goes like this:
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal. She asked them to include this prayer after each decade whenever they prayed the rosary.
For each of the next four decades, repeat steps 6, 7 and 8. Here’s a rundown:
- a) Announce the mystery
- b) Say one Our Father
- c) Say ten Hail Marys
- d) Say one Glory Be
- e) Say the Fatima prayer (optional)
When you’ve completed the fifth and final decade, say the Hail Holy Queenprayer, as follows:
Hail, 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, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: Also know as the Salve Regina, the Hail Holy Queen is a beautiful Marian hymn that truly articulates why we pray for Our Lady’s intercession.
Many people also like to conclude the rosary with the so-called Rosary Prayer:
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 meditating upon 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.
WHY THIS PRAYER?: The Rosary Prayer summarizes the rosary itself and serves as a nice conclusion to our heartfelt meditations.
The Mysteries of the Rosary
The Joyful Mysteries
- The Annunciation – The angel announces to Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus
- The Visitation – Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth
- The Nativity – Mary gives birth to Jesus in Bethlehem
- The Presentation – Mary and Joseph present Jesus to God in the temple
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple – After going missing, Mary find the young Jesus teaching in the temple
The Luminous Mysteries
- The Baptism of Jesus – John baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan
- The Wedding Feast at Cana – Jesus performs his first miracle, turning water into wine at his mother’s request
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom – Jesus proclaims God’s Kingdom
- The Transfiguration – Disciples Peter, James, and John see Jesus transfigured
5. The Institution of the Eucharist – During the Last Supper, Jesus offers his Body and Blood
The Sorrowful Mysteries
- The Agony in the Garden – On the night before he dies, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane
- The Scourging at the Pillar – The Romans lash Jesus severely
- The Crowning With Thorns – Soldiers mock Jesus and torture him by putting a crown made of thorns on his head
- The Carrying of the Cross – Despite his injuries, Jesus carries the cross
- The Crucifixion – Jesus is nailed to the cross, and there he dies
The Glorious Mysteries
- The Resurrection – God raises Jesus from the dead
- The Ascension – Jesus rises to Heaven
- The Coming of the Holy Spirit – The apostles are given wisdom and gifts by the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of Mary – Mary reaches the end of her earthly life and is taken body and soul into heaven
- The Coronation of Mary – Mary is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth