The Five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays.

How to Pray the Rosary

Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website

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

  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
  6. For each of the five decades, announce the Mystery, then say the Our Father.
  7. While fingering each of the 10 beads of the decade, next say 10 Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery. Then say a Glory Be. (After finishing each decade, some say the following prayer requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy.”)
  8. After saying the five decades, say the “Hail, Holy Queen,” followed by this dialogue and 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 while 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.

What is the Rosary?

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic 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 Five Joyful Mysteries are traditionally prayed on the Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays of Advent:

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Nativity
  4. The Presentation in the Temple
  5. The Finding in the Temple

 

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

  1. The Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
  5. The Crucifixion and Death

 

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

  1. The Resurrection
  2. The Ascension
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  4. The Assumption
  5. The Coronation of Mary

 

The Five Luminous Mysteries are traditionally prayed on Thursdays:

  1. The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan
  2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
  3. Jesus’ Proclamation of the Coming of the Kingdom of God
  4. The Transfiguration
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist

 

History of the Rosary

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by millions. There are two major theories on the origin of the Rosary.

St Dominic with Mary Jesus and rosaryThe traditional theory attributes the origin of our Rosary to St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans).  In 1214 the Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners.

He was instructed by the Blessed Virgin, who appeared to him in an apparition, to use it as the weapon the Holy Trinity wants us to use to reform the world.  Saint Dominic preached the Rosary for the rest of his life.

The second theory is that, beginning in the 12th century, the Rosary developed in imitation of the 150 biblical Psalms that priests and religious were required to pray over a certain period of time. Some monks even prayed all 150 Psalms every day.  As time went on, it was felt that the lay brothers, known as the conversi, should have some form of prayer of their own. They were distinct from the choir monks, and a chief distinction was that they were illiterate. Since they couldn’t read the psalms, they couldn’t recite them with the monks. They needed an easily remembered prayer. 

The prayer first chosen was the Our Father and, depending on circumstances, it was said either 50 or 100 times. These conversi used rosaries to keep count.  Later, Marian devotion followed a similar trend, with the repetition of praying the Hail Mary.  Eventually the practices were united to the prayers that we say today in the Rosary.