The Rosary is a scriptural meditation and devotion to Mary the Mother of God. It consists of many prayers that are repeated throughout. The Rosary focuses on 15 Mysteries of the life of Christ. Many good things are known to have come from the Rosary and Scapular. For more info check out

How to Say the Rosary:

The traditional rosary consists of five sets of ten beads (known as decades), each separated by a larger bead. There is an extension from this main circle of the rosary consisting of a crucifix, a large bead, three small beads, and another large bead.

On the crucifix, say the Apostles' Creed.
On the first large bead, say an Our Father.
On the next three beads, say three Hail Marys.
On the second large bead, say another Our Father.
Now you come to the main part of the rosary. Say an Our Father on each of the large beads, and a Hail Mary on each of the fifty small beads. When you finish, you may enter your petitions and say a Hail, Holy Queen.

The rosary is used for meditation on the 15 mysteries of Christ's life. Each decade of the rosary represents a single mystery. Which mysteries you meditate on depends on the day of the week:

On Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays in Advent and from Epiphany to Lent: The Five Joyful Mysteries
1. The Annunciation (when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was with child.)
2. The Visitation (when Mary visited the pregnant Elizabeth).
3. The Nativity (Christ's birth).
4. The Presentation (when Christ was presented at the Temple in accordance with Jewish tradition).
5. Finding in the Temple (when Joseph and Mary found Christ in the Temple teaching the elders).

On Tuesdays, Fridays, and every day during Lent: The Five Sorrowful Mysteries
1. Agony in the Garden (when Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane).
2. Scourging at the Pillar (when Roman soldiers whipped Christ).
3. Crowning with Thorns
4. Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion

On Wednesdays, Saturdays, and for Sundays from Easter until Advent: The Five Glorious Mysteries
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. Descent of the Holy Spirit (when Christ sent the Holy Spirit on his apostles).
4. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (when Christ took Mary into heaven).
5. Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary (when Christ crowned Mary the Queen of Heaven).

Side note: Protestants may find some of these mysteries disconcerting, since they involve beliefs unique to the Catholic Church.

The rosary can also be used for other prayers, such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
At the beginning of each decade it is recommended, especially when praying the rosary in a group, to announce the mystery being contemplated.

Also, at the end of each decade the Fatima prayer may be added.

Finally, praying the rosary bestows upon the faithful the Fifteen Promises of the Virgin Mary.

On October the 16th 2002 Pope John Paul II began the 25th year of his reign. In order to mark this historic event he declared the year (Oct 2002 – Oct 2003) “The year of the Rosary”.

In his public address he urged Catholics everywhere to continue to pray the Rosary as often as possible. On the same day he also introduced five new mysteries of the Rosary called the Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light.

The Pope felt that while the old mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious) focused on Jesus’ birth, passion and resurrection they made no mention of Jesus’ ministry and the Mysteries of Light were designed to fill this need.

The Luminous Mysteries are as follows

  1. The Baptism of Jesus.
  2. The Wedding at Cana.
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
  4. The Transfiguration
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist

As a result of these new Mysteries the days on which the mysteries were traditionally prayed (see wu above) had to be changed. The system now looks like this:

It is still traditional to pray the Glorious mysteries everyday from Easter Sunday until the following Sunday.

There a huge number of regional traditions relating the rosary but the basic formula described in SueZVudu’s wu is always the same. One interesting variant however is a German one. In Germany the mystery being prayed is incorporated into every Hail Mary as follows. Take the standard Hail Mary and at the end of the line:

“blesséd are thou amongst women and blesséd is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”
(“Du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen und gebenedeit ist die Frucht Deines Leibes Jesu”)
add on what Jesus did in the Mystery you are praying.
e.g. “blesséd are thou amongst women and blesséd is the fruit of thy womb Jesus, who rose from the dead.”
(“Du bist gebenedeit unter den Frauen und gebenedeit ist die Frucht Deines Leibes Jesu, der von den Toten auferstanden ist.")

This tradition is a particular favorite of Pope John Paul II’s because it underlines the emphasis of the Rosary on Jesus rather than on Mary.

The Holy Rosary

The Five Joyful Mysteries

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

The Five Luminous Mysteries

  1. The Baptism of Jesus
  2. The Miracle at Cana
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven
  4. The Transfiguration
  5. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. Our Lord's Agony in the Garden
  2. The Scourging of Our Lord at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
  5. His Death on the Cross

The Five Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  2. His Ascension into Heaven
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
  4. The Assumption of our Lady into Heaven
  5. The Coronation of Our Lady

The Familial Mysteries (of a Layman)ok'd by Father Flynn, these are my own idea because I found in the life of St Joseph, invariants of the confusion of family life in general. He sets an example for the heads of households. The recent history of the Church called for contributions from the laity, and this is mine. it is not officially approved by the Catholic Church however.

  1. St.Joseph accepts Mary as his wife.
  2. The Holy Family set out to Jerusalem
  3. St. Joseph takes the family to Egypt to escape Herod
  4. St. Joseph is directed by an angel to return to Galilee where Jesus is raised
  5. The Holy Family set out for a family gathering and Jesus sets off on His own

Ro"sa*ry (?), n.; pl. Rosaries (#). [LL. rosarium a string of beads, L. rosarium a place planted with roses, rosa a rose: cf. F. rosaire. See Rose.]


A bed of roses, or place where roses grow.

"Thick rosaries of scented thorn."


2. R.C.Ch.

A series of prayers (see Note below) arranged to be recited in order, on beads; also, a string of beads by which the prayers are counted.

His idolized book, and the whole rosary of his prayers. Milton.

A rosary consists of fifteen decades. Each decade contains ten Ave Marias marked by small beads, preceded by a Paternoster, marked by a larger bead, and concluded by a Gloria Patri. Five decades make a chaplet, a third part of the rosary.

Bp. Fitzpatrick.


A chapelet; a garland; a series or collection, as of beautiful thoughts or of literary selections.

Every day propound to yourself a rosary or chaplet of good works to present to God at night. Jer. Taylor.


A coin bearing the figure of a rose, fraudulently circulated in Ireland in the 13th century for a penny.

Rosary shell Zool., any marine gastropod shell of the genus Monodonta. They are top-shaped, bright-colored and pearly.


© Webster 1913.

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