How to Pray the Catholic Rosary

How to Pray the Catholic Rosary [PDF Guide for Catholics]

The Catholic Rosary is an important tradition of the Catholic Church and is a loved devotion by many of the faithful. Below is a guide detailing how to Pray the Catholic Rosary and includes a free, printable PDF guide.

Overview of how to Pray the Catholic Rosary

The Catholic Rosary is a meditative prayer. Meditative Prayer is a way of praying in which we contemplate a fixed subject. When we pray the Rosary we gaze upon Jesus, his life, and his mother. It’s a prayer to learn about Jesus. As we recite this Catholic Prayer, we ask Mary to pray for us as we seek to grow closer to her son.

Before you get started, it's important to pray the Rosary with intention and a meditative mindset. The Catholic Rosary is not simply a series of words that you meaninglessly repeat, over and over. These are very biblical prayers and should be prayed with reverence. One strategy is to refrain from trying to focus on the specific words being said. Seek to contemplate the life of Jesus. Let the words flow by, and meditate on the pivotal moments in Christ’s life.

Regardless if you are a meditative prayer expert, or this is the first time you are picking up the Catholic Rosary, if you enter with the right intention, the Prayer will bear good fruits. The Rosary is an important Catholic tradition and is loved by many. Edward Sri explains the prayer well, “Think of the Rosary as being like the ocean: There’s something in it for everyone, whether you consider yourself 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, right now, with something going on in your life. The deep-sea explorer and the child making sand castles on the beach can fully enjoy the same ocean while playing at different levels. And this is true with the Rosary.”

Edward Sri, “Why Pray the Rosary?”

The Steps to Praying the Catholic Rosary

The Breakdown:

  • Introduction, consisting of the Sign of the Cross, Apostles Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's, and the Glory Be.
  • Five Decades, consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Mary's, the Glory Be, and O My Jesus. Each Decade focuses on a different mystery (story from Jesus's life).
  • Closing Prayers, consisting of the Hail Holy Queen, Let us Pray, and Sign of the Cross.

The Introductory Prayers:

The introductory prayers set the stage for the rosary. They prepare you for deeper reflection when you pray the decades. Either before or after the introductory prayers, think of any needs or struggles in your life and bring them to Mary. She cares for you like a loving mother, and wants to take your needs to Jesus.

Step 1 - Start by with the Sign of the Cross. "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Step 2 - While holding the crucifix, say the "Apostles Creed."

Step 3 - On the next single bead, pray the "Our Father." This is commonly said for the Holy Father's intentions.

Step 4 - On the next three beads, pray the "Hail Mary." These beads are for meditating on the virtues of faith, hope and love.

Step 5 - On the next single bead, pray the "Glory Be."

The Decades:

There are five decades, or groups of 10 small beads, that make up the main portion of the rosary. You’ll find that the prayers for each decade are repeated many times. This gives you an opportunity to reflect on the words, which are deeply rooted in the Bible and Christian tradition. They are powerful and filled with meaning.

Step 1 - On the bead or symbol before the first 10 bead section, first announce the first mystery.

Step 2 - Immediately following, pray the "Our Father."

Step 3 - On the next 10 beads, on each bead pray the "Hail Mary."

Step 4 - Immediately following, pray the "Glory Be."

Step 5 - Immediately following, pray the "O My Jesus."

Step 6 - On the next single bead, announce the next mystery.

Step 7 - Immediately following, pray the "Our Father."

Continue with the 10 "Hail Mary's", "Glory Be," and "O My Jesus," for each of the next four Mysteries until you are all the way around the Rosary.

Learn the Mysteries of the Rosary here.

The Conclusion Prayers:

Step 1 - After saying your last "O My Jesus," immediately follow with the "Hail Holy Queen."

Step 2 - Immediately follow with the "Let Us Pray."

Step 3 - End with the Sign of the Cross.

The Prayers of the Catholic 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.

How to Pray the Catholic Rosary - Printable Guide from Everyday Prayer Company

Below is a free, printable, guide on how to Pray the Catholic Rosary. It includes the Catholic Rosary Prayers written out and a diagram outlining the steps in praying the Rosary. It is free to download and use.

How to Pray the Rosary Guide - PDF File

The Prayers of the Rosary - PDF File

Mysteries of the Rosary Guide - PDF File


Where to get a Catholic Rosary

Interested in making the Rosary part of your daily prayer life? The Catholic Rosary is a wonderful addition to your faith life and can enrich you relationship with Christ.

A great step is purchasing a Catholic Rosary to carry with you, and use while praying. There are many types of Rosaries and places you can get Rosaries, below are a few suggested options.

  1. The Wallet Card Rosary

    At Everyday Prayer Company, we recognized the value of having a Rosary that you can easily carry with you and access easily. We created the Rosary Card, a small credit-card-sized Rosary that fits in your wallet. Check them out here.

  2. West Coast Catholic Rosary

    Our friends at West Coast Catholic make beautiful Rosaries, each one coming with a meaning behind its design. The beauty of these Rosaries helps you enter a reverent mindset and intentionally pray. Check them out here.

  3. Rugged Rosary

    Want a Rosary that can take a tumble? Rugged Rosaries make paracord Rosaries that have a warrior look to them. Makes a great gift for the men in your life! Check them out here.

  4. Make one yourself, or see if your local church has some available.

    Often a local Catholic Parish has free small plastic Rosaries or has a small Catholic Goods shop with Rosaries for sale. If that isn’t an option, grab some rope and make one yourself!


The Rosary Card - Built For Convenience

As you learn to pray 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. 

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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