The Holy Rosary

What is the Rosary?

According to Catholic tradition, the Rosary was instituted by the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the 13th century, she is said to have appeared to St. Dominic, given him a rosary, and asked that Christians pray the Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory Be.  The original rosary of St. Dominic had 15 decades.

In short, the main purpose of rosary beads and how they are arranged is to help us keep track of our prayers.  The prayers counted using the beads are collectively known as the Rosary. The beads give the devotion structure. The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ's spirit dwells. The Rosary can be said privately or with a group.

Although a variety of prayers might be used in saying the Rosary, a selection of standard prayers is most commonly used. They include the Apostles' Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Hail Holy Queen.  A decade consists of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be.  There are five decades on a standard set of rosary beads. 

While praying the Rosary we reflect upon certain principal events or Mysteries in history. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ's life.  There are twenty total Mysteries, divided into four primary sets. Each set has five events, which correspond to the five decades of the rosary. Those sets are:
  • Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Mondays and Saturdays. These events all have to do with Christ’s birth.
  • Five Luminous Mysteries are recalled on Thursdays and were instituted by Saint John Paul II in 2002.
  • Five Sorrowful Mysteries relate to Jesus’ suffering and death and are traditionally recalled on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Five Glorious Mysteries remind the faithful of Jesus’ resurrection and the glories of heaven and are prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Parishioners of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish often pray the Rosary before the 8:00 AM daily Mass in Saint Anne Church.  The Substance Addiction Ministry prays a Rosary for Recovery every third Tuesday of each month before the Most Blessed Sacrament at 5:45 PM in Saint Anne Church.

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, and is 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.

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

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 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.
(Verse) Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
(Response) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Mysteries of the Rosary

Before you begin to pray the Rosary, choose which set of Mysteries to focus on.  As you begin each decade, try to visualize the event as you recite your prayers.

The Joyful Mysteries
  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 Luminous Mysteries
  1. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River: 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.

The Sorrowful Mysteries
  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 Glorious Mysteries
  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.

How to Pray the Rosary

The following are the steps for praying the rosary using rosary beads:
  1. On the crucifix, make the Sign of the Cross and say the Apostles’ Creed.
  2. On the next large bead, pray the Our Father.
  3. On the next three small beads, pray three Hail Marys.
  4. On the chain, pray the Glory Be.
  5. On the large bead, announce the first mystery then say the Our Father.
  6. On the next ten beads, pray ten Hail Marys while meditating on the first mystery.
  7. On the chain, pray the Glory Be.
  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for the next four decades, meditating on the four remaining mysteries in the group.
  9. When you have reached the end of your fifth decade, pray the Hail Holy Queen.
  10. Finish by reciting the Sign of the Cross at the crucifix once more.