How to Say the Rosary

How the Say the Rosary [Catholic Guide]

 How to Say the Rosary, a Catholic Guide, is a comprehensive, step-by-step introduction on learning to pray the Rosary. The Rosary is a Scripture-based meditative prayer. When we pray the Rosary, we ask Mary to pray for us as we contemplate the life, death, and resurrection of her son Jesus.

Pope John Paul II wrote in his 2002 apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae that the Rosary “the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love.”
“There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” - Lucia dos Santos
“The Rosary is a prayer that is always with me; it is also the prayer of ordinary people and saints... It is a heartfelt prayer.” - Pope Francis

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Say the Rosary

A Rosary requires about 20 minutes to Pray.

How to Say the Rosary

  1. Begin by making the Sign of the Cross.
  2. Pray the Apostles' Creed while holding the crucifix.
  3. Pray an Our Father on the first bead.
  4. Pray a Hail Mary on each of the next three beads.
  5. Pray a Glory Be on the next bead.
  6. Announce the first mystery on the large bead, followed by an Our Father.
  7. Say a Hail Mary on each of the ten small beads while continuing to contemplate the mystery.
  8. Say the Glory Be at the end of the decade.
  9. Then say the Fatima Prayer.
  10. Repeat this pattern for the next few decades. Our Father > 10 Hail Marys > Glory Be -> O my Jesus (Fatima Prayer)
  11. Finish with the Hail Holy Queen after the 5 decades.
  12. Finish with the closing prayer. Let us say a prayer:
  13. Finish with the Cross Sign.

The Prayers of the Rosary 

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 arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from there 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.

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.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was, in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O My Jesus (The Fatima Prayer)

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Take all souls into heaven, especially, those most in need of thy mercy. Amen.

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.

Hail Holy Queen

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, 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.

Let Us Pray (The 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 salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.


What exactly is the Rosary?

St. Dominic preached the Gospel to combat various heresies in the early 13th century, and he founded the Order of the Dominicans to carry on this work of spreading the Good News. Despite their efforts, the heresy persisted, so he turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary for guidance. According to legend, Mary appeared to him in 1221 and gave him the Rosary devotion, encouraging him to share the prayer with others. Many people believe that the Rosary originated in the monastic practice of reciting 150 Psalms each week, which later expanded into the repetition of Hail Marys.
The Rosary is still as powerful in 2023. It remains a beautiful means of conversion and has helped to unite the global population of Catholics in prayer in the aftermath of Pope Benedict XVI's death.


Where did the Prayers of the Rosary come from? 

The Rosary devotion consists of several prayers, all of which are based on Scripture. People frequently say the Rosary with rosary beads to help them focus their prayers, though they are not required for the devotion. If you don't already have a rosary, consider using a video online or checking out one of our wallet Rosaries. You can even just use you fingers! 
The Apostles' Creed "I believe in God, the Almighty Father..."
The Apostle's Creed is used to begin the Rosary. It is an appropriate way to begin this prayer, affirming our core Catholic beliefs. Each line is drawn from various books of the Bible, including the Gospels, 1 Peter, 1 Corinthians, Acts, and others.
"Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name..."
This prayer, also known as the Lord's Prayer, is directly from Jesus in Matthew 6, when he teaches his disciples how to pray.
Hail Mary! Full of Grace..."
Although the repeated Hail Mary prayer is addressed to Mary, the act of love is ultimately directed to Jesus, with her and through her.
The heart of the Rosary is the Hail Mary prayer. We pray ten Hail Marys in each of the five decades, for a total of 50 Hail Marys at the end of your devotion. This prayer, in which we request Mary's intercession, is also based on Scripture. The first two lines are from Luke's first chapter, when the Angel Gabriel announces Christ's arrival at the Annunciation and Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, greets Mary at the Visitation.
Glory Be "Glory Be to the Father..."
The Glory Be is also known as the doxology, which is a Greek word that means "an expression of praise or glory." This is a simple and common prayer in which we ask that the Holy Trinity be glorified at all times.
The Fatima Prayer "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins..."
Mary herself delivered the Fatima Prayer to three shepherd children on July 13, 1917, during her appearances in Fatima, Portugal. We ask Jesus for mercy on ourselves and all souls in this prayer, which is said at the end of each decade.
Hail Holy Queen! "Hail, Holy Queen of Mercy..."
The Rosary concludes with this powerful prayer, which derives from the ancient practice of monks concluding communal prayer with the Salve Regina (a Latin chant of the Hail, Holy Queen). When we say the Rosary, we give thanks to God for Mary's participation in all of the saving events of Jesus' life, death, and Resurrection, as we are reminded that Jesus is given to us through his Mother Mary.

How to Say the Mysteries of the Rosary

Each of the five decades of the Rosary focuses on a different aspect of the Paschal Mystery. Each of the four sets of mysteries — Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, and Glorious — contains five pivotal events from Jesus' life. We enter into one set of these mysteries at a time when praying the Rosary, meditating on them through the eyes of Mary, the disciple who was closest to Jesus and knew him best. On certain days of the week, the Church traditionally prays certain mysteries, as follows:

The Joyful Mysteries

(Prayed on Mondays and Saturdays)

  1. The Annunciation - Mary learns that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus.
  2. The Visitation - Mary visits Elizabeth, who tells her that she will always be remembered.
  3. The Nativity - Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem.
  4. The Presentation - Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to God.
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple - Jesus is found in the Temple discussing his faith with the teachers.

The Joyful Mysteries invite us to reflect on the Incarnation, and we are immersed in the awe of Jesus coming to earth as a babyWe see the incredible story unfold through Mary's eyes: the appearance of the angel (The Annunciation), the greeting of her cousin Elizabeth (The Visitation), the birth of her son (The Nativity), and the significant events that point to who this child is and what he will do (The Presentation and Finding in the Temple). We are encouraged to "reflect on them in [our] hearts," as Mary did (Luke 2:19).

More about the Joyful Mysteries.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

(Prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays)

  1. The Agony in the Garden - Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before he dies.
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar - Jesus is lashed with whips.)
  3. The Crowning With Thorns - Jesus is mocked and crowned with thorns.)
  4. The Carrying of the Cross - Jesus carries the cross that will be used to crucify him.
  5. The Crucifixion - Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies.)

The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday, Friday) The Sorrowful Mysteries help us relive Jesus' passion and deathWe not only remember it, but we also participate in it, keeping watch with Jesus in his anguish before his arrest (The Agony in the Garden). With The Scourging at the Pillar, The Crowning of Thorns, and The Carrying of the Cross, we enter into his agony... Then we stand at the foot of the cross with Mary, witnessing his Crucifixion and Death. As we consider the cost of our salvation and redemption, we attempt to comprehend the depths of God's love for us. We feel his sorrow and contrition even more deeply when we see it through his mother's eyes.

More about the Sorrowful Mysteries

The Glorious Mysteries

(Prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays)

  1. The Resurrection - God the Father raises Jesus from the dead.
  2. The Ascension - Jesus returns to his Father in heaven.
  3. The Coming of the Holy Spirit - The Holy Spirit comes to bring new life to the disciples.
  4. The Assumption of Mary - At the end of her life on earth, Mary is taken body and soul into heaven.
  5. The Coronation of Mary - Mary is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

In the Glorious Mysteries, we reflect on the amazing miracles that occur after Jesus' death. These events demonstrate that Jesus is who he claims to be: the Son of God. We feel the joy of Christ's resurrection and imagine ourselves as Mary or the first disciples (The Resurrection). We see Jesus' ascension into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as we pray. Though not explicitly mentioned in Scripture, the last two mysteries are based on hundreds of years of tradition based on passages from Revelation and Song of SongsWe celebrate the grace and role Jesus bestowed upon his mother (the Assumption and Coronation of Mary), and we hope that where Mary goes, we will follow one day.

More about the Glorious Mysteries. 

The Luminous Mysteries

(Prayed on Thursdays)

  1. The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan - God proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son.
  2. The Wedding Feast at Cana - At Mary’s request, Jesus performs his first miracle.
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God - Jesus calls all to conversion and service to the Kingdom.
  4. The Transfiguration of Jesus - Jesus is revealed in glory to Peter, James, and John.
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist - Jesus offers his Body and Blood at the Last Supper.

We reflect on the events of Jesus' public ministry through the Luminous Mysteries: his revelation as the Beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, his first public miracle at the Wedding at Cana, his Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, Jesus' Transfiguration, and the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper"In the Luminous mysteries, apart from the miracle at Cana, the presence of Mary remains in the background," wrote Pope St. John Paul II. Nonetheless, the role she played at Cana follows Christ throughout his ministry. The revelation made directly by the Father at the Jordan Baptism, echoed by John the Baptist, is placed on Mary's lips at Cana, and it becomes the great maternal counsel that Mary addresses to the Church of all ages: "Do whatever he tells you."

More on the Luminous Mysteries.  


Why do we Say the Rosary?

Consider the Rosary to be like the ocean: There's something in it for everyone, whether you're a veteran mystic longing to go deeper in prayer with our Lord, a novice struggling to learn how to pray, or someone seeking the Lord's help with something going on in your life right now. The deep-sea explorer and the child building sandcastles on the beach can both enjoy the same ocean at different levels. This is also true of the Rosary.
"Why Pray the Rosary?" by Edward Sri As Dr. Sri explains, the Rosary is a prayer for people of all ages who are going through different life experiences and may have varying levels of familiarity with the devotion. The reason for the Rosary is straightforward: Mary was present during Christ's joyful, sorrowful, luminous, and glorious moments. So, with Mary's help, we seek to grow closer to Christ by meditating on Jesus' life. We may wish to pray with Mary for a specific intention, or we may seek solace from the Blessed Mother and her Son. Any reason to pray the Rosary is a lovely one.


How to Say the Rosary Everyday

The Rosary can be prayed at any time of day or night. While some prefer to pray with beads, they are not required for our time with Jesus and Mary. Praying the full Rosary takes about 15 - 25 minutes, but if you only have a few minutes, you can always pray one decade (an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be).
Consider the following prayer times if you want to intentionally incorporate the Rosary into your daily prayer routine:
  1. Consider incorporating the Rosary into your daily walking routine. You can pray with a audio or video or carry your rosary beads while walking.
  2. Pray the Rosary while driving;
  3. Say the Rosary as you begin or end your workday
  4. As you prepare dinner, Say the Rosary. 
  5. Set aside some quiet time to pray as you prepare for the day or prepare to sleep. 

Related Catholic Prayers: 

How to Pray the Litany of Trust

How to Pray the Litany of Humility

How to Pray the Chaplet of Mercy 


The Rosary Card - Use to Say the Rosary! 

As you learn to Say the Rosary, check out our Rosary Cards. They are designed for convenience (same size as a Credit Card) and make it much easier to pray the Rosary often. 

The Rosary Card

See more options here.


Please let me know how your journey with the Rosary is going, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message an email at:

Need a Rosary to get started? Check out our Wallet Rosary Cards. It'll make sure you are never without the Rosary.

Get inspired by our daily Rosary quotes: Instagram

And don't forget about our free Rosary Guide Download. Keep Praying! 

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