(Please note: this page is still very much a work in progress. I am still learning daily about the rosary, discovering new optional prayers and many new or freshly thought out meditations for praying the decades. If errors are found, please feel free to send me a message via the contact page.)
I. The Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
II. The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 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 the life everlasting.
III. Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer)
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.
IV. Hail Mary (3x) – praying for an increase in the virtues of faith, hope and charity
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
V. 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.
While meditating on each event of the mysteries, recite: 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s and 1 Glory Be. Optionally, the Fatima Prayer is often said at the conclusion of each decade:
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
Praying and meditating the Decades is where one realizes the usefulness of rosary beads. It is distracting, for me anyway, to try and mentally keep count of the prayers while meditating on the mysteries. The beads, in particular the size, number and spacing of the beads keep count for me, triggering when to start and stop each meditation. Whilst the Rosary’s prayer’s direct our devotion to the Holy Trinity and honor our Holy Mother, seeking her intercessions, the primary function of the specific count of prayers is to act as a timing mechanism, ensuring that all the Gospel mysteries are meditated upon, and in a timely fashion. A standard set of beads, for example the ones we most often see hanging from driver’s rear-view mirrors, contains a crucifix or cross (where the Apostles Creed is recited), 5 Opening Prayer beads (for an Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s and a Glory Be) followed by the loop of 5 decades each with 11 beads (one large, for an Our Father, and ten smaller ones, for the Hail Mary’s). A Glory Be at the end of each decade is prayed either on the last small bead of the decade, or in the space between the last small bead and next large bead. The Mysteries and their events are broken down into decades as follows:
(NOTE: I am currently working on building pages for each of the Mysteries, with general information or a word of wisdom or two from venerable sources such as the Pope. Also provided will be supporting references to Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, to help learn and understand the individual events associated with each decade with which to meditate upon. I’ve mostly completed the Glorious Mysteries page, which can be accessed by clicking “The 5 Decades of the Glorious Mysteries” header below. The page will open in a new window.)
The 5 Decades of the Joyful Mysteries:
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity
- The Presentation
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
The 5 Decades of the Luminous Mysteries (proposed by Pope John Paul II in 2002):
- The Baptism of Jesus
- The Wedding Feast at Cana
- The Call to Repentance and the Proclamation of the Kingdom
- The Transfiguration
- The Institution of the Eucharist
The 5 Decades of the Sorrowful Mysteries:
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning of Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit
- The Assumption of Mary
- The Coronation
One may pray and meditate upon all 20 decades in one go if one wishes, or upon the 15 Traditional decades, and many do so each and every day! To do so, pray the opening prayers, followed by each decade in the order above (skip the Luminous Mysteries if you wish to only pray the Traditional Rosary), followed by the closing prayers below. I think the most common practice is to pray 5 decades of one Mystery on a daily schedule as follows:
The Traditional Order:
Sunday, Wednesday & Saturday – Glorious Mysteries
Monday & Thursday – Joyful Mysteries
Tuesday & Friday – Sorrowful Mysteries
The Modern Order (as proposed by Pope John Paul II, whom added the Luminous Mysteries as reflections upon the public life of Christ):
Sunday & Wednesday: Glorious Mysteries
Monday & Saturday: Joyful Mysteries
Tuesday & Friday: Sorrowful Mysteries
Thursday: Luminous Mysteries
For those, like myself, who have neither the time or perhaps haven’t yet the fortitude to pray all 20 decades in one go, pray the 5 decades associated with the Mystery of whichever day of the week it is, using one of the two schedules above, beginning with the Opening Prayers, and concluding with the Common Closing Prayers. Also, one may find it easier to learn the entire rosary by focusing on only 5 decades at a time. This has certainly been the case for me.
Common Closing Prayers
I. 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 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.
II. Concluding 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 both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
III. The Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Optional Closing Prayers
There are numerous prayers associated with the Holy Rosary. The following are some which are commonly prayed, often in conclusion of the Rosary proper (before the concluding Sign of the Cross):
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to thee I come; before thee I stand
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but, in thy mercy, hear and answer me.
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Mother of divine grace, pray for us.
Mother most pure, pray for us.
Mother most chaste, pray for us.
Mother inviolate, pray for us.
Mother undefiled, pray for us.
Mother most amiable, pray for us.
Mother admirable, pray for us.
Mother of good counsel, pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
Mother of our Saviour, pray for us.
Mother of mercy, pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of justice, pray for us.
Seat of wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our joy, pray for us.
Spiritual vessel, pray for us.
Vessel of honour, pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.
Mystical rose, pray for us.
Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of ivory, pray for us.
House of gold, pray for us.
Ark of the covenant, pray for us.
Gate of heaven, pray for us.
Morning star, pray for us.
Health of the sick, pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Comfort of the afflicted, pray for us.
Help of Christians, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, pray for us.
Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of Confessors, pray for us.
Queen of Virgins, pray for us.
Queen of all Saints, pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us.
Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us.
Queen of families, pray for us.
Queen of peace. pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.
Often, for the prayer intentions of the Holy Father, the following will be recited to conclude the Holy Rosary:
1 Our Father
1 Hail Mary
1 Glory Be