how to pray on your catholic rosary beads

Most rosary beads come with 5 decades of beads, a center piece and a crucifix. Each decade represents a Mystery and includes 1 Pater bead (Our Father) and 10 Ave beads (Hail Marys). The Mysteries are stories taken from the life of Christ which we meditate upon in order to become closer to Him. There are now 4 sets of Mysteries: the Joyful, the Luminous (recently added by Pope John Paul II), the Sorrowful, and the Glorious.

Prayers For The Rosary:

Optional Opening Prayer: “Queen of the Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary. (Here mention your request). I ask it for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of souls, especially for my own. Amen.”

Sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen”

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; 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 will come again 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”

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”

The Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst 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.”

The 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.”

Hail Holy Queen: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, our Sweetness, and our hope. To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then 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 worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen”

Closing Prayer: “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"

Rosary Diagram:


1. Start with the Crucifix. Make the Sign of the Cross followed by The Apostles’ Creed.

2. Move to the first Pater bead after the Crucifix (see P1 in diagram). Say an Our Father followed by one Hail Mary for each of the next 3 Ave beads. Then close with The Glory Be.

3. While meditating on the 1st mystery, take hold of the 2nd Pater bead (P2 in diagram) and say the Our Father. Then skip over the rosary center and say one Hail Mary for each of the next 10 Ave beads. Then say the Glory Be.

4. While meditating on the 2nd mystery take hold of the 3rd Pater bead (P3). Say one Our Father followed by one Hail Mary fore each of the next 10 Ave beads, ending with the Glory Be.

5. While meditating on the 3rd mystery take hold of the 4th Pater bead (P4). Say the Our Father followed by one Hail Mary fore each of the next 10 Ave beads, ending with the Glory Be.

6. While meditating on the 4th mystery take hold of the 5th Pater bead (P5). Say the Our Father followed by one Hail Mary fore each of the next 10 Ave beads, ending with the Glory Be.

7. While meditating on the 5th mystery take hold of 6th Pater bead (P6). Say the Our Father followed by one Hail Mary fore each of the next 10 Ave beads, ending with the Glory Be.

8. While holding the center say the Closing Prayers and finish with the Sign of the Cross.


The Mysteries

On Monday and Saturday we meditate on the Joyful Mysteries:

1st Decade: The Annunciation - The Angel Gabriel tells Mary she is expecting (Luke 1:26-38)
2nd Decade: The Visitation - Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56)
3rd Decade: The Birth of Jesus - Jesus is born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-21)
4th Decade: The Presentation - Jesus is presented to Simeon in the Temple (Luke 2:22-38)
5th Decade: Jesus in the Temple - After being lost for 3 days, Jesus is found in the temple (Luke 2:41-52)

On Thursday we meditate on the Luminous Mysteries:

1st Decade: Baptism of Christ - Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-16)
2nd Decade: The Wedding at Cana - Jesus turns water to wine (John 2:1-11)
3rd Decade: The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God - Jesus goes from town to town proclaiming God’s Kingdom and helping the poor (Mark 1:14-15)
4th Decade: The Transfiguration - Jesus leads his friends up the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8)
5th Decade: The Last Supper - the institution of the Holy Eucharist (Matthew 26)

On Tuesday and Friday we meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries:

1st Decade: The Agony in the Garden - Jesus prays in the Garden of Olives (Matthew 26:36-56)
2nd Decade: The Scourging - Jesus is tied and beaten (Matthew 27:26)
3rd Decade: Jesus is crowned - a crown of thorns is placed on Jesus’ head (Matthew 27:27-31)
4th Decade: Jesus carries his cross - Jesus is made to carry his cross to Calvary (Matthew 27:32)
5th Decade: The Crucifixion - Jesus dies on the cross for our sins (Matthew 27:33-56)

On Wednesday and Sunday we meditate on the Glorious Mysteries:

1st Decade: The Resurrection - Jesus rises from the dead (John 20:1-29)
2nd Decade: The Ascension - Jesus ascends into heaven 40 days after his death (Luke 24:36-53)
3rd Decade: Holy Spirit Descends - 10 days after Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit visits Mary and the apostles (Acts 2:1-41)
4th Decade: The Assumption - Mary dies and is assumed into heaven
5th Decade: Mary’s Crowning - The Blessed Virgin is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth by her Son











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