The Holy Rosary - a journey in the Scriptures

The Holy Rosary 

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostle's Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Christian faith. The Our Father which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the  Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and––added by Pope John Paul II in 2002––the Luminous.

The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. 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.

“The traditional image of the Madonna of the Rosary depicts Mary holding the child Jesus in her arm and giving the rosary to St. Dominic. This significant iconography shows that the rosary is a means given by the Virgin for contemplating Jesus and, meditating on his life, for loving and following him always more faithfully.” Benedict XVI

The Five Joyful Mysteries - are traditionally prayed on Mondays, Saturdays, and on the Sundays of Advent:

  1. The Annunciation - Luke 1:26-38; John 1:14
  2. The Visitation - Luke 1:39-56
  3. The Nativity -Luke 2:6-20; Matthew 1:18-25
  4. The Presentation in the Temple - Luke 2:22-39
  5. The Finding in the Temple -Luke 2:41-51

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries - are traditionally prayed on Tuesdays, Fridays, and on the Sundays of Lent:

  1. The Agony in the Garden - Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar - Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:16-22; John 19:1
  3. The Crowning with Thorns - Matthew 27:29-30; Mark 15:16-20; John 19: 2-3
  4. The Carrying of the Cross -  Matthew 27:31-32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26-32 
  5. The Crucifixion and Death - Matthew 27: 33-54; Mark 15: 22-39; Luke 23: 33-47; John 19: 17-37

The Five Glorious Mysteries - are traditionally prayed on Wednesdays and on the Sundays outside of Lent and Advent:

  1. The Resurrection - Matthew 28: 1-10; Mark 16: 1-18; Luke 24: 1-49; John 20:1-29
  2. The Ascension - Mark: 16: 19-20; Luke 24: 50-51; Acts 1: 6-11
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:1-41
  4. The Assumption - Revelation 12:1
  5. The Coronation of Mary - Revelation 12:1

The Five Luminous Mysteries - are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:

  1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan - Matthew 3:11-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:15-22; John 1:26-34
  2. The Wedding Feast at Cana - John 2:1-12
  3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God - Matthew 5:1-16, 6:33 & 7:21; Mark 1:14-15
  4. The Transfiguration - Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist - Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 22-25; Luke 22:14-20; John 6:33-59

Praying the Rosary

Familiarize yourself and/or your group with the prayers of the Rosary.

 Introductory Prayers 

  1. Make the Sign of the Cross.
  2. Holding the Crucifix, say the Apostles’ Creed.
  3. On the first bead, say an Our Father.
  4. Say three Hail Marys on each of the next three beads.
  5. Say the Glory Be

Praying the Mysteries

  1. For each of the five decades, announce the Mystery (perhaps followed by a brief reading from Scripture using the links above) then say the Our Father.
  2. While fingering each of the next ten beads, say ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery.
  3. Then say a Glory Be.
  4. After finishing each decade, some say the Fatima Prayer.

Concluding Prayers

After saying the five decades, say:

  1. Hail, Holy Queen 
  2. Optional: Concluding Prayer

    V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
    R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Let us pray: 

    O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life. Grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

  3. Optional: St. Michael PrayerOptional: Prayer to St. Joseph