How to Pray the Rosary

About the CD

When Pope John Paul II added the new Luminous Mysteries to the Rosary during the Year of the Rosary (October 2002-October 2003), it became apparent that a new Rosary CD was needed with all Mysteries included on a single disk. In this light, A Rosary For The Family was born.

One of the most appreciated features of this CD is the fact that it only takes seventeen minutes to pray a set of Mysteries. A person can easily complete it on the way to work or school without losing the attention of the children. The exceptionally beautiful music behind the voices is uplifting and calming all at the same time.

The meditations revolve around family issues and are meant to bring families closer together. They are written as though Jesus and Mary are speaking directly to the listener about the particular Mystery, and they offer a little prayer or word of encouragement at the end.

What is the Rosary?

The Rosary is a scriptural, meditative walk through the life of Christ as seen through the eyes of Mary, His mother.  She was quietly present in Jesus’ life, loving and suffering with Him as mothers do, and pondering these things in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

This journey through the life of Christ is prayed in four parts, or Mysteries, and each of the Mysteries contain five points of meditation.

  1. The Joyful Mysteries remind us of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and announcing that she would be the mother of the Savior. And she said “Yes”. We follow her to Elizabeth’s home, to the manger in Bethlehem and to the temple where Jesus was presented to God and was found teaching at the age of twelve. The Joyful Mysteries are:
    1. Angel Gabriel announces Mary will be the mother of the savior. (Mt 1:18-25
    2. Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother. (Lu 1:39-45)
    3. Jesus is born. (Lu 2:1-7)
    4. Mary and Joseph present Jesus to God in the temple. Circumcision. (Lu 2:22-35)
    5. Jesus is found teaching in the temple. (Lu 2:41-52)
  2. The Luminous Mysteries shed light on Christ’s public ministry, including His baptism in the Jordan, the wedding feast at Cana, His teaching, the Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist:
    1. Jesus is baptized by John in the River Jordan. (Mt 3:13-17)
    2. Wedding Feast at Cana. Jesus turns water into wine. (Jn 2:1-11)
    3. Jesus preaches the Kingdom. (Lu 11- Lu 21)
    4. Jesus is transfigured on the mountain. (Mk 9:2-8)
    5. Jesus establishes the Eucharist. (Mt 26:26-30)
  3. The Sorrowful Mysteries provide meditation on Christ’s sorrowful passion and death:
    1. The agony of Jesus in the garden. (Mt 26:36-46)
    2. Jesus is scourged at the pillar. (Mk 15:15)
    3. Jesus is crowned with thorns. (Mt 27:27-31)
    4. Jesus carries His cross. (Lu 23:26-31)
    5. Jesus is crucified. (Lu 23:32-49)
  4. The Glorious Mysteries express the fullness of Christ’s redemptive work on earth, beginning with his resurrection from the dead and the events that followed.:
    1. Jesus rises from the dead. (Jn 20:1-18)
    2. Jesus ascends into heaven. (Lu 24:50-53)
    3. The Holy Spirit descends on Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-13)
    4. Mary is assumed into heaven body and soul. (Catechism, 966)
    5. Mary is crowned queen of heaven. (Rev 12:1)

How to Say the Rosary

Rosary Prayers

We use the Rosary beads to count our prayers. The whole body is engaged as the beads are traced with our fingers and we touch the wounds of Christ on the crucifix. We begin with the sign of the cross. This is much like pleading the blood of Jesus to cover you because the devil HATES the cross. He knows he was defeated there. As we trace the sign of the cross, we profess our belief in the Trinity, three persons in one God.

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

On the crucifix, we say the Apostles Creed, which professes our Christian beliefs:

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 is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will 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

One may instead recite Psalm 51, “ …Oh, God come to my assistance-Lord make haste to help me-Lord, open my lips-and my mouth will declare your praise-glory to the Father…”

On the chain that separates the single beads, we say the Glory Be, which is full of praise for the three persons of God:

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

We also say the Fatima Prayer:

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy.

On the single bead separated by chain, we announce the Mystery and say the Our Father, which Jesus taught us in scripture:

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.

On the ten beads that are close together, we say the Hail Mary prayer, which is a combination of two scripture passages. One is the Angel Gabriel’s greeting, the other is Elizabeth’s greeting when Mary went to visit her and the baby in her womb leapt for joy. They are in five groups of ten apiece:

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.

At the end, we say the Hail Holy Queen prayer:

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, most gracious advocate, your 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.

The Rosary is a truly beautiful and meaningful prayer form, because we say the prayers and meditate on events in the life of Christ. Through it, we are able to enter and unite ourselves more fully as Christians. Have  you ever heard a favorite song and been taken back in your heart and mind to a memory of a certain person or place? You may even be singing the words as you relive a special moment. In a similar way, consider a scene in the life of Christ, for example, the fourth Sorrowful Mystery, “Jesus carries His cross”. Recitation of the prayers allows the mind and heart to visualize Jesus, scourged and beaten, crowned with thorns, the meek and humble Lamb of God, bearing the weight of the cross to save us. We might think about His mother watching all this unfold, agonizing for her son, her child, suffering with him as mothers do. You are in a sense, reliving the moment.

When Jesus gave Mary to John at the foot of the cross, and said, “Behold your mother” (John 19:26), He also gave her to us as our mother. She is standing before the throne of Jesus as a powerful intercessor for us all.