Devout Christians may amass quite a collection of rosaries — from simple plastic rosaries to more ornate gem-enhanced alternatives — and never really put them to use. But reciting the rosary is an important way for Christians to express their faith, and families can make such expressions by reciting the rosary together.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says the rosary is a scripture-based prayer that begins with the “Apostles’ Creed,” continues with the “Our Father,” and then the “Hail Mary.” “Glory Be” is prayed at the end. The first prayer summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. Praying the “Our Father” introduces each mystery from the Biblical Gospels. Finally, the “Hail Mary” announces the birth of Christ.
In addition to the prayers, saying the rosary includes announcing the Divine Mysteries of Contemplation, usually prayed on particular days of the week. These include the Joyful mysteries (Mondays and Saturdays), Sorrowful mysteries (Tuesdays and Fridays), Glorious mysteries (Wednesdays and Sundays) and Luminous mysteries (Thursdays). There are five mysteries for each category.
When getting started, you may not be familiar with the rosary. But with practice, you soon will have the repetition of prayers set to memory.
- To begin, hold the rosary in your hand at the crucifix. Make the Sign of the Cross and start with the “Apostles’ Creed.”
- At the first bead say the “Our Father.”
- The next three beads are where you recite the “Hail Mary.”
- At this point on the chain, pray the “Glory Be.”
- On the next bead announce the mystery; then say the “Our Father.”
- Pray the “Hail Mary” for the next 10 consecutive beads, while also meditating on the recited mystery.
- At this point in chain, pray the “Glory Be” again.
- After that prayer is complete, then recite “Hail, Holy Queen.”
The 10 “Hail Marys” that follow the announcing of each mystery are called a decade. There are five decades that make up a Chaplet of the Rosary. You can choose to pray the five decades (including announcing all of the mysteries) in one sitting or do so on different days.
Reciting the rosary is intended to lead the faithful into calm, restorative and contemplative prayer. It can be an ideal way to remove stress and fully immerse oneself in faith while growing a stronger connection with God.
Learn more about the history and purpose of the rosary at rosarycenter.org.