The Holy Rosary is a powerful practice in the Catholic faith. Below is a guide that outlines the parts of the Rosary, How to pray a Rosary, and some helpful links to deepen your Rosary faith practice. Don’t miss our Parts of the Rosary PDF Guide available for free download.
What are the Parts of the Rosary?
The Holy Catholic Rosary can be illustrated in three main parts: The Introduction Prayers, the Five Decades, and the Closing Prayers. The Five Mysteries of the Rosary, and how to add those into you Rosary Prayer is also included below.
Today, Roman Catholics use a rosary made up of 59 beads. The 6 large beads are used for praying the Our Father prayer, and the 53 smaller beads are used for praying the Hail Mary prayer. Other prayers of the rosary include the Apostles’ Creed, the Glory Be, and the Hail, Holy Queen.
There are 5 decades, or groups of 10 small beads, that make up the main portion of the rosary.
The Parts of the Rosary: The Introduction
The opening prayers set the stage for the recitation of the rosary. They prepare you for deeper reflection during the decades of prayer. Before or after the introductory prayers, consider your needs and struggles and present them to Mary. She has a motherly concern for you and desires to communicate 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 Parts of the Rosary: The Five Decades
The main portion of the rosary is comprised of five decades, or groups of 10 small beads. Each decade's prayers are repeated numerous times. This affords you the chance to contemplate the words, which are deeply rooted in the Bible and Christian tradition. They are potent and full of significance.
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.
The Parts of the Rosary: The Mysteries of the Rosary
The Mysteries of the Rosary are included in the five decades of the Rosary. The Mysteries of the Rosary are scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary. We announce these scenes prior to the beginning of each decade and then reflect on them as we pray the Hail Marys. There are a total of 20 mysteries, which are categorized into four groups: The Glorious Mysteries, The Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Luminous Mysteries. Tradition dictates that Catholics pray the Mysteries of the Rosary on specific days of the week and at specific times of the year.
To pray with the Mysteries of the Rosary, you simply announce each Mystery when you start a new decade. When you announce the Mystery, take a moment to reflect on the scene, and then begin the decade with the scene in mind.
Corresponding scripture can also be read before during each mystery announcement to help picture the corresponding scene. A sample list of scripture for each Rosary can be found here.
Here’s a great print-friendly PDF Mysteries of the Rosary Guide.
Want to learn more about the Mysteries of the Rosary? Look into our guide here.
The Parts of the Rosary: 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 Parts of the Rosary: The Prayers of the Rosary
Below are the prayers of the Holy Rosary. Here’s a great print-friendly PDF Prayers of the Rosary Guide.
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, 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 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, 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 Parts of a Rosary
When Catholics recite the twelve prayers that comprise a decade of the rosary, they contemplate the associated mystery or scene. If they simply recite the prayers, whether aloud or in silence, they miss the point of the rosary. Critics, unaware of the meditation component, assume the rosary is tedious, pointless, and devoid of significance.
The Rosary is not intended to be "vain repetition," but when we simply recite the words of the Rosary while closing our minds, the prayer can become very empty. It is intended to be far more than a string of words! The Rosary is a prayer, and its purpose is to strengthen our relationship with the Lord.
“In the Rosary, we not only say prayers, we think them.” - Venerable Fulton Sheen
To make the Rosary a prayer, we must transform it into a contemplative prayer. As we announce each mystery, the following Our Fathers and Hail Marys are intended to elicit a deeper contemplation of that mystery.
In his book, The Family That Prays Together Stays Together, Father Peyton explains that the Rosary is more than a series of prayers to be recited. Rather, it is “a series of thoughts to be dwelt on, to be turned over in the mind, to be applied in daily life.”
This may be a difficult concept to grasp, but it is the key to unlocking the Rosary's power. Try to let the Rosary's words flow past you, almost like a chant, so that your mind can enter into prayer.
The founder of Opus Dei, Saint Josemaria Escriva, explains this practice. “For a Christian, vocal prayer must spring from the heart, so that while the Rosary is said, the mind can enter into contemplation of each one of the mysteries.”
St. Josemaria Escriva offers an additional simple but frequently overlooked suggestion. He encourages us to clearly and slowly pronounce each Our Father and Hail Mary. We will better express our love for Mary and Jesus if we do so. It is easy to fall into the trap of mumbling and rushing through the prayers of the Rosary. We were provided with these unique prayers. Remembering that the Our Father was given to us by Jesus and that the Hail Mary is taken directly from the Bible should assist us in comprehending the power and holiness of these words and entering a state of prayer.
How to Pray the Rosary Daily
Praying a Holy Rosary does not have to be a daunting task. A daily Rosary brings so many spiritual benefits, and saints throughout the ages have encouraged us to make it part of our faith life. Here's five quick tips to pray the Rosary each day and make it a regular part of your faith life.
Pray the Rosary when you are doing a mundane or repetitive task
Whenever your brain is 'off' during a mindless task, it's an opportunity to bring those thoughts to prayer. Doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, painting a wall, vacuuming, even filling out a spreadsheet can be sanctified by praying the Rosary. It's a great way to bring Jesus into your work.
Pray the Rosary as you walk to work
Any sort of daily commute - driving, riding or walking - is a perfect time to pray the Rosary. This is a wonderful practice to make praying the Rosary a habitual part of your day. What a wonderful way to set up or close your work day. Our Rosary Cards are very easy and discrete to carry!
Pray the Rosary at lunch
This is the practice that I do most often. I'm a big fan of using your lunch break as a "Pause and Recommit" time of your day. Adding a Rosary at the end of your lunch allows you to refocus and bring Mary and Jesus with you the rest of the day. I like to go to the parking garage or street and walk as I pray.
Pray it right before or after a big meeting or important part of your day
If I'm being conservative, a Rosary takes about 20 minutes to pray. Most of the time I find it takes less than 15. If your place of work allows, schedule in an extra 15 minutes before or after a meeting to privately pray a Rosary. This is a beautiful opportunity to re-set yourself after a potentially stressful time in your day. Closing the door to your office or going out to pray in your car reminds us that whatever happened in the meeting is of small significance to who you are and what you are called to.
Say the Rosary while driving in your car
Instead of turning on another podcast or the radio, I've found that taking a few minutes of my drive is a great way to pray the Rosary. Whenever I've got a meeting across town, or I'm in the middle of a long road trip, praying the Rosary is a great use of my time in the car. What a great way to bring faith into your daily commute as well. (This also significantly cuts down on my frustration or road rage).
The Parts of the Rosary PDF
Use the free Parts of the Rosary Guide PDF to learn the rosary. Free PDF Download.
Download the Parts of the Rosary PDF Guide.
Learn more about the Holy Rosary
Where did the Beads come from?
Travel Rosary for Hiking, Camping, and Adventure [Rosary Card]
The Family Rosary | 8 Tips to pray the Rosary as a Family
[Pray a Scriptural Rosary] Learn the bible verses of the Rosary
The Rosary Card - Built For Convenience
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need a Rosary to get started? Rosary Cards. It'll make sure you are never without the Rosary.
Get inspired by our daily Rosary quotes:
And don't forget about our free Rosary Guide Download. Keep Praying!