How to Pray the Rosary

Since the Rosary has been prayed by millions of faithful over the course of many centuries, some differences have naturally arisen in the way the Rosary is recited here and there. There are at least two distinct, but equally valid, ways of praying the Rosary. One is the traditional manner used by the Dominican Friars, the original promoters of the Rosary. The other is the more popular, common way.

The Dominican Way of Praying the Rosary

The Dominican Friars have traditionally prayed the Rosary in a way that is slightly different and also slightly shorter from the (now) more common way. The Dominican way begins with a series of verses and responses that recall the opening of the Liturgy of the Hours and also the Angelic Salutation that forms the first part of the Hail Mary.

The Common Way of Praying the Rosary

The most common manner of praying the Rosary in the United States is given below, although variations exist in different parishes, etc.:

 

 

First, one makes the Sign of the Cross.

Then, one says the following short verses and responses:

V. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee;
R. Blessed art Thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.
V. O Lord, open my lips;
R. And my mouth will proclaim Your praise.
V. O God, come to my assistance.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

First, one makes the Sign of the Cross.

Then one recites the Apostles’ Creed.

On the first large bead connected to the Cross, the Our Father is prayed.

For each of the three small beads that follow, the Hail Mary is prayed.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia. (Alleluia is omitted during Lent)

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

Then, the first Mystery of the set is announced, e.g., “The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation.” After the Mystery is announced, one begins to meditate on that portion of Christ’s life.

The Our Father is prayed on the first large bead.

On each of the next ten (smaller) beads, a Hail Mary is prayed. While pronouncing these prayers, one continues to meditate on the Mystery of Christ’s life.

At the end of the “decade” of 10 Hail Marys, one prays the Glory Be. Then, one announces the next mystery (e.g., “The Visitation”) and recites the Our Father on the large bead. After the Our Father is finished, one moves to the first small bead of the next decade and begin the Hail Marys again.

This process continues through each of the five decades until you return to the beginning, where the Glory Be is prayed. Most ordinary Rosaries have beads for five decades, although a “full” Dominican rosary has fifteen decades.

Then, the first Mystery of the set is announced, e.g., “The First Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation.” After the Mystery is announced, one begins to meditate on that portion of Christ’s life.

The Our Father is prayed on the first large bead.

On each of the next ten (smaller) beads, a Hail Mary is prayed. While pronouncing these prayers, one continues to meditate on the Mystery of Christ’s life.

At the end of the “decade” of 10 Hail Marys, one prays the Glory Be. This is typically followed by the Fatima Prayer. Then, one announces the next mystery (e.g., “The Visitation”) and recites the Our Father on the large bead. After the Our Father is finished, one moves to the first small bead of the next decade and begin the Hail Marys again.

This process continues through each of the five decades until you return to the medallion, where the Glory Be is prayed. Most ordinary Rosaries have beads for five decades.

The Dominican Rosary then concludes with the following prayers:

First, the Hail, Holy Queen is prayed.

Then one says the following verses and responses:

V. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
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 upon 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.

V. May the Divine Assistance remain always with us.
R. And may the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

[If a Priest is present:] And may the peace and blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit descend upon you and remain with you forever.

[Otherwise:] And may Almighty God bless us, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Rosary then concludes with the following prayers:

First, the Hail, Holy Queen is prayed.

Then one says the following verse and response:

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 upon 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.