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Pope John Paul II on the Rosary

The Rosary belongs among the finest and most praiseworthy traditions of Christian contemplation. Developed in the West, the Rosary is a typically meditative prayer, corresponding in some way to the “prayer of the heart” or “Jesus prayer” which took root in the soil of the Christian East. The Rosary, precisely because it starts with Mary's own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Mary's contemplation is above all a remembering. These events not only belong to “yesterday”; they are also part of the “today” of salvation.

How to Pray the Rosary

To learn how to pray the Rosary follow the instructions below.  What is a Rosary?  The word Rosary has two meanings.  One is the actual set of prayers below.  The word Rosary is also used to describe the beads or rope used to pray the Rosary with. 

1. Pray Starting Prayers of the Rosary

2. Pray the First Mystery of the Rosary

3. Pray the Second Mystery of the Rosary

4. Pray the Third Mystery of the Rosary

5. Pray the Fourth Mystery of the Rosary

6. Pray the Fifth Mystery of the Rosary

7. Pray the Hail Holy Queen


Prayers of the Rosary

Sign Of The Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The 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,He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; he ascended into Heaven sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from there he will 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 by 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

Note: After listening to the word and focusing on the mystery, it is natural for the mind to be lifted up towards the Father. In each of his mysteries, Jesus always leads us to the Father, for as he rests in the Father's bosom (cf. Jn 1:18) he is continually turned towards him. He wants us to share in his intimacy with the Father, so that we can say with him: “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6). By virtue of his relationship to the Father he makes us brothers and sisters of himself and of one another, communicating to us the Spirit which is both his and the Father's. Acting as a kind of foundation for the Christological and Marian meditation which unfolds in the repetition of the Hail Mary, the Our Father makes meditation upon the mystery, even when carried out in solitude, an ecclesial experience.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. 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

Note: The Hail Mary is the most substantial element in the Rosary and also the one which makes it a Marian prayer par excellence. Yet when the Hail Mary is properly understood, we come to see clearly that its Marian character is not opposed to its Christological character, but that it actually emphasizes and increases it. The first part of the Hail Mary, drawn from the words spoken to Mary by the Angel Gabriel and by Saint Elizabeth, is a contemplation in adoration of the mystery accomplished in the Virgin of Nazareth. These words express, so to speak, the wonder of heaven and earth; they could be said to give us a glimpse of God's own wonderment as he contemplates his “masterpiece” – the Incarnation of the Son in the womb of the Virgin Mary. If we recall how, in the Book of Genesis, God “saw all that he had made” (Gen 1:31), we can find here an echo of that “pathos with which God, at the dawn of creation, looked upon the work of his hands”.(36) The repetition of the Hail Mary in the Rosary gives us a share in God's own wonder and pleasure: in jubilant amazement we acknowledge the greatest miracle of history. Mary's prophecy here finds its fulfilment: “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48).

The centre of gravity in the Hail Mary, the hinge as it were which joins its two parts, is the name of Jesus. Sometimes, in hurried recitation, this centre of gravity can be overlooked, and with it the connection to the mystery of Christ being contemplated. Yet it is precisely the emphasis given to the name of Jesus and to his mystery that is the sign of a meaningful and fruitful recitation of the Rosary. Pope Paul VI drew attention, in his Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, to the custom in certain regions of highlighting the name of Christ by the addition of a clause referring to the mystery being contemplated.(37) This is a praiseworthy custom, especially during public recitation. It gives forceful expression to our faith in Christ, directed to the different moments of the Redeemer's life. It is at once a profession of faith and an aid in concentrating our meditation, since it facilitates the process of assimilation to the mystery of Christ inherent in the repetition of the Hail Mary. When we repeat the name of Jesus – the only name given to us by which we may hope for salvation (cf. Acts 4:12) – in close association with the name of his Blessed Mother, almost as if it were done at her suggestion, we set out on a path of assimilation meant to help us enter more deeply into the life of Christ.

From Mary's uniquely privileged relationship with Christ, which makes her the Mother of God, Theotókos, derives the forcefulness of the appeal we make to her in the second half of the prayer, as we entrust to her maternal intercession our lives and the hour of our death.

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.

Note: Trinitarian doxology is the goal of all Christian contemplation. For Christ is the way that leads us to the Father in the Spirit. If we travel this way to the end, we repeatedly encounter the mystery of the three divine Persons, to whom all praise, worship and thanksgiving are due. It is important that the Gloria, the high-point of contemplation, be given due prominence in the Rosary. In public recitation it could be sung, as a way of giving proper emphasis to the essentially Trinitarian structure of all Christian prayer.

To the extent that meditation on the mystery is attentive and profound, and to the extent that it is enlivened – from one Hail Mary to another – by love for Christ and for Mary, the glorification of the Trinity at the end of each decade, far from being a perfunctory conclusion, takes on its proper contemplative tone, raising the mind as it were to the heights of heaven and enabling us in some way to relive the experience of Tabor, a foretaste of the contemplation yet to come: “It is good for us to be here!” (Lk 9:33).

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee 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 towards us,
And after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of they womb, Jesus.
O clememt. 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.


Mysteries of the Rosary

Note: You can pick any set of mysteries any day. The choices are Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious.

The Joyful Mysteries

1 First Joyfull Mystery of the Rosary - Annunciation The Annunciation

Luke 1:26-38

The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary, announcing she is to be the Mother of God


Second Joyfull Mystery of the Rosary - Visitation

The Visitation

Luke 1:39-56

Elizabeth greets Mary: "Blessed art Thou amoung women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb"


Third Joyfull Mystery of the Rosary - Nativity

The Nativity of Christ

Luke 2:1-20

The Virgin Mary gives birth to the Redeemer of the World.


Fourth Joyfull Mystery of the Rosary - Presentation

The Presentation

Luke 2:22-39

The Blessed Mother presents the Child Jesus in the Temple


Fifth Joyfull Mystery of the Rosary - Finding in the Temple

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Luke 2:42-52.

The Blessed Mother finds Jesus in the Temple.

The Luminous Mysteries John 8:12

1 Bapsitm of Jesus
The Baptism

John 1:29-34

The heavens open wide and the voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son

2 Second Luminous Mystery of the Rosary - Wedding at Cana The Wedding at Cana

John 2:1-11

The first of the signs, when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers.

3 Third Luminous Mystery of the Rosary - Comming of the Kingdom The Comming of the Kingdom of God

Matthew 4:17

Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God, calls us to conversion and forgives the sins of all who draw near to Him in humble trust.

4 Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary -Transfiguration The Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-8

The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to "listen to him."

5 Fifth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary - Eucharist The Institution of the Eucharist

Matthew 26:26-30

Christ offers his body and blood as food under the signs of bread and wine, and testifies "to the end" His love for humanity, for whose salvation He will offer Himself in sacrifice.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

1 First Sorrowfull Mystery of the Rosary - Agony in the Garden The Agony in the Garden

Luke 22:39-44

At Gethsemane, Jesus prays as He contemplates the sins of the world.

2 Second Sorrowfull Mystery of the Rosary - Scourging at the Pillar The Scourging at the Pillar

Matthew 27:26

Jesus is cruelly scourged until His mortified body could bear no more.

3 Third Sorrowfull Mystery of the Rosary - Crowing of Thorns Crowning with Thorns

Matthew 27:28-31

A crown of thorns is placed on the head of Jesus.

4 Fourth Sorrowfull Mystery of the Rosary - Carrying of the Cross Carrying of the Cross

Luke 23:26-32

Jesus carries the heavy cross upon His shoulders to Calvary.

5 Fifth Sorrowfull Mystery of the Rosary - Crucifixion The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:33-50

Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies after hours of agony.

The Glorious Mysteries

1 First Glorious Mystery of the Rosary - Resurrection The Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-20

Jesus rises glorious and immortal, three days after His death.

2 Second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary - Ascension The Ascension

Luke 24:50-51

Jesus ascends into Heaven forty days after His Resurrection.

3 Third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary - Descent of the Holy Spirit Descent of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:24

The Holy Spirit descends upon Mary and the Apostles.

4 Fourth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary - Assumption The Assumption

The Blessed Mother is united with her Divine Son in Heaven.

5 Fifth Glorious Mystery of the Rosary - Coronation The Coronation

Mary is gloriously crowned Queen of Heaven and earth.

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