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The Rosary (Latin: rosarium, "rose garden", Spanish:Rosario), is a traditional devotion in the Roman Catholic Church. The Rosary is also prayed by some in the Anglican Communion, most notably Anglo-Catholics.

To pray the rosary you should use a Rosary. A Rosary is a string of beads with a crucifix. A short string of five beads is attached to the crucifix which leads to a large circular strip of beads made of five sets of one large bead and ten smaller beads, called decades. You begin on the crucifix with a Sign of the Cross and an Apostles' Creed. Say an Our Father on the large bead and one Hail Mary for each of the next three smaller beads. On the next large bead, say a Glory Be to the Father, announce and meditate on the first mystery and say an Our Father. Say a Hail Mary for each of the following smaller beads, and end the decade with the Glory Be. Begin the cycle again with an Our Father, meditate the second mystery according to the same schema and so on for the third, fourth and fifth mysteries. You end with the Prayer after the Rosary and a Sign of the Cross.


Mysteries of the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries

Said on Mondays and Saturdays, and Sundays of the Christmas Season.

  • The Annunciation (Humility) Luke 1:26-38
  • The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, announcing she is to be the Mother of God
  • The Visitation (Charity) Luke 1:39-56
  • Elizabeth greets Mary: "Blessed art Thou amoung women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!"
  • The Nativity (Poverty) Luke 2:1-20
  • The Virgin Mary gives birth to the Redeemer of the World.
  • The Presentation (Obedience) Luke 2:22-39
  • The Blessed Mother presents the Child Jesus in the Temple
  • Finding in the Temple (Piety) Luke 2:42-52
  • The Blessed Mother finds Jesus in the Temple.

The Mysteries of Light, as proposed by Pope John Paul II

Said on Thursdays

  • The Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3:13-17
  • When Jesus comes up from the water the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descends on him
  • The Wedding at Cana John 2:1-11
  • Jesus affirms the good of marriage, turns water to wine and manifests his glory
  • The Kingdom of God Matthew 4:17
  • The proclamation of the Gospel, and the call to repentance
  • The Transfiguration Matthew 17:1-8
  • Jesus' face shines like the sun, and his garments become white as light
  • The Eucharist Matthew 26:26-28
  • The institution of the Sacrament and the establishment of the Priesthood

The Sorrowful Mysteries

Said on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Sundays of Lent

  • The Agony in the Garden Luke 22:41-47
  • Jesus prays in agony, an angel appears strengthening him, and his sweat becomes like blood
  • The Scourging at the Pillar John 19:1
  • Pilate tells the crowd he will flog Jesus and let him go, and he has Jesus scourged
  • The Crowning with Thorns Mark 15:16-19
  • The soldiers put a crown of thorns on him and mock him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
  • The Carrying of the Cross Luke 23:24-32
  • Jesus carries his cross, Simon helps him, Jesus speaks to the women
  • The Crucifixion John 19:17-30
  • Jesus is crucified, gives his mother to John, thirsts, cries out, dies, and is pierced in the side

The Glorious Mysteries

Said on Wednesdays and Sundays of Easter Season and Ordinary Time

  • The Resurrection Matthew 28:1-10
  • The women come to the tomb, the angel tells them he is risen, and Jesus meets them on the way
  • The Ascension Mark 16:19
  • After speaking to them, Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God
  • The Descent of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-4
  • On the day of Pentecost, the sound of wind, tongues of fire appeared, and the Holy Spirit descended on them
  • The Assumption of Mary into Heaven Romans 8:29-30
  • Mary whom he predestined, was conformed to the image of Jesus, and glorified, in the twinkling of an eye.[2]
  • The Coronation of Mary and the glory of all the Saints Revelation 12:1
  • A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.[3]

Before the Mysteries of Light proposed by Pope John Paul II, the 15-Decade Rosary (in honor of the 150 Psalms) was prayed as follows:

  • The 5 Joyful Mysteries on Mondays and Thursdays
  • The 5 Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays
  • The 5 Glorious Mysteries on Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • On Sundays of Christmas the 5 Joyful Mysteries
  • On Sundays of Lent the 5 Sorrowful Mysteries
  • On all other Sundays of the year, during Advent and Ordinary Time, the 5 Glorious Mysteries.

Some devotees of this form of prayer and praise of God in honor of Mary recite and meditate once every day on all 15 Mysteries or on all 20 Mysteries (including the Mysteries of Light), which normally takes from 30 to 45 minutes.

The Rosary is comparable and parallel to the Old Testament Psalm 136, which recalls with praises of thanksgiving each of the marvelous works of the Lord and repeats 26 times, "for his mercy endures for ever!"



By tradition, the Catholic laity began the practice of saying the rosary in honor of the Blessed Virgin and as an easier imitation of the monastic practice of praying the 150 Psalms. The first historical evidence of the rosary is from Saint Dominic (A.D. 1221), who founded Order of Preachers or Dominicans.[5] A disciple of Saint Dominic, Alain de Roche, instituted the modern form of the rosary. Many Popes, and particularly the Dominicans, have urged the regular recitation of the rosary, which means a crown of roses as a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother.

Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" (Luke 1:28)
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (Luke 1:42)

Rosary in Latin

The Madonna of the Rosary by Miguel Cabrera.

The rosary in Latin is as follows:[6]

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen

(the Apostles' Creed):

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.

(the Our Father):

PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

(the Hail Mary):

AVE MARIA, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

(the Glory Be):

GLORIA PATRI, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


  1. Pray the Rosary
  2. See 1 Corinthians 15:42-55
  3. See Daniel 12:3 and Matthew 13:43
  4. Prayers / Rosary