Hello Rosary Lovers! Here’s another Catholic Rosary prayer guide!

Those of you who know this website, here at rosarylovers.com we have many posts about the Rosary. We have plenty of posts and content about how to pray the Rosary.

But old ideas never die, and so long as something is useful it’s worth talking and writing about.

So here’s to another post about how to pray the Rosary! Enjoy!

Get a Rosary

If you have a Rosary, then you can grab it and get started. Otherwise, you’re going to have to buy one.

Honestly, there are so many of them out there that it can all get confusing and I think most of us assume that one rosary is as good as another.

This is true in one sense. So long as the rosary you hold in your hand has beads to count your prayers on, you’re good to go.

However, most rosaries do not last, and many fall apart rather quickly. I’ve had this happen time and time again, until I was sick of it. Getting a new rosary blessed every few weeks or months isn’t very fun.

So I suggest you go for a real strudy thing that won’t break and that will last forever. The best choice that I can find here are paracord rosaries.

Check out this post for some terrific paracord rosaries.

Can’t I just pray the Rosary without rosary beads?

You can indeed do this. You could use your fingers or your toes, if you are so inclined. You can just count aloud the number you are on. Whatever works for you.

However, the Rosary prayer and the rosary beads belong together. They are found together in the Church’s tradition and in the lives of the saints. They are not meant to be separated.

I was encouraged to buy a new Rosary when I watched an extract from an old film about the life of St Bernadette. When the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette, the saint took out her Rosary and began reciting the Rosary.

Saints pray the Rosary with rosary beads. If we don’t do this, we will undeniably miss out on some of the blessings and riches we could be getting by using rosary beads.

Introductory prayers

The next step after getting your rosary is to begin with the sign of the cross, using the crucifix on the rosary.

You then have a choice for introductory prayers. You can choose either of the introductions found here.

Don’t sweat over the introduction. Get to the Rosary itself as soon as possible.

Choose a set of mysteries

You’re next step is to choose which set of mysteries you are going to pray.

The Rosary is split up into 4 sets of mysteries. Each mystery has 5 mysteries.

The sets of mysteries of the Rosary are as follows:

  • Joyful mysteries (prayed by the Church on Mondays and Saturdays, and all the Sundays of Advent)
  • Luminous mysteries (prayed by the Church on Thursdays)
  • Sorrowful mysteries (prayed by the Church on Tuesdays and Fridays, and all the Sundays of Lent)
  • Glorious mysteries (prayed by the Church on Wednesdays and Sundays)

As you can see, I’ve included which set of mysteries are recited on which day of the week by the Latin rite of the Catholic Church.

Bear in mind that not every rite of the Catholic Church recites the Rosary. Not even every priest or Bishop of the Latin rite recites the Rosary. It’s entirely optional as a devotion.

Likewise, it’s entirely up to you which set of mysteries you choose to pray today. You can even pray 2 sets in one day, or 3 sets, or – if you’re really hardcore – all 4 sets in one day!

Obviously, if you choose to only pray 1 set of mysteries, perhaps it’s a good idea to pray the set that the Church is praying that day. That way, you can feel united with many people in the Church on that day in prayer. But it doesn’t matter that much.

For a full list of all the mysteries of the Rosary, see this post.

Recite the first mystery

Now you recite/announce the first mystery of the set you’ve chosen.

Let us suppose you have selected the Joyful mysteries. You announce the first mystery of this set, which is ‘The Annunication’. That’s all you have to say.

In fact, you don’t even need to announce it, you can just think it. All the Church requires is that if you are praying the Rosary on your own, you simply need to meditate on this mystery, even if only for a moment, but ideally throughout the recitation of the Hail Marys.

Reciting/announcing the mystery is the simplest way to meditate on the mystery. You MUST meditate on the mystery to be actually praying the Rosary.

The mysteries are a fundamental and necessary element of the Catholic Rosary.

Recite the ‘Our Father’ once

Presumably you know the Our Father prayer that Jesus taught us, but if you don’t, here it is:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be 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.]

Many Christians call this the Lord’s prayer, but Catholics call it the Our Father.

Recite precisely 10 Hail Marys

This is where your rosary beads come in very handy. You now have to recite 10 Hail Marys in a row.

To do this, you will place your finger on your rosary beads where there are ten beads together. You put your thumb on the first of these ten beads.

For each new Hail Mary, you move your thumb to a new bead. When you reach the end of the 10 beads, you know you have prayed 10 Hail Marys.

The Hail Mary prayer is:

Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst 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.

Am I supposed to meditate actively on the mystery as I pray the Hail Marys?

Good question. There are different ideas about this on the different sites and books I’ve read on this.

Some Catholics say that you’re supposed to meditate actively on the mystery as you’re praying the Hail Marys. In this method, the Hail Marys become a kind of background chant, whereas its the mystery which takes the focus in your mind.

To do this, some use pictures of the mysteries, so that whilst they are praying the Hail Marys their minds are focused on the pictures. I find this method very helpful and inspiring and highly recommend it. You can use Google images for tonnes of pictures for any mystery of the Rosary.

Other Catholics say that it’s sufficient to announce the mystery or to picture an image of the mystery in your head before praying the Our Father.

It doesn’t seem to matter which method you go for, and so far as I can tell the Church doesn’t mind.

Personally, I vary things. If I am busy doing another necessary task, like pegging out washing, I will make an effort to meditate on the mystery right the way through.

I do this by adding a little word or small phrase at the end of each ‘Jesus’ in the middle of each Hail Mary. For instance, for the Annunciation, I might say: ‘and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus – announced/conceived. Holy Mary …’. I will do this for each Hail Mary.

This helps me to focus my mind when I’m busy doing something else but still want to pray the Rosary.

If all I am doing is praying the Rosary, I might use Google images, or I may just picture the mystery in my head and then pray 10 straight Hail Marys without adding anything. Or I may just announce the mystery and pray the 10 Hail Marys.

It doesn’t make much difference to me personally. The important thing is to actually pray the Rosary. Just pray it. Get to it and get it done.

A less than perfect Rosary prayed is infinitely better than no Rosary prayed.

Do I need to recite the Hail Marys aloud?

No, you do not. You can if you wish, but you can also pray them in your mind/heart, or mime the words with your lips. Do what works for you.

The only time this MAY be of significance is if you are praying the Rosary alone in a Catholic Church and wish to gain a plenary indulgence. If this describes you, then you MAY need to recite the Rosary aloud, although quietly.

This comes down to how section 48 of the Enchiridion of Indulgences is interpreted.

Either way, most Catholics are praying the Rosary on their own in their own lives, outside of Church buildings. In which case, you get lots of partial indulgences, whether you recite the Rosary aloud or in your heart/mind.

So, most of the time, this doesn’t matter. I personally mix and match.

Of course, if you have a sore throat or cannot talk, you will have to do it in your mind anyway.

What do I do after reciting the 10 Hail Marys?

You recite one Glory Be. It goes like this:

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.

You may wish to add the Fatima prayer, but it is entirely optional. If you want to add it, see here for the words.

And that’s it?

Well, that’s one mystery recited, yes. All you have to do now is repeat for the other 4 mysteries, and you’ve prayed an entire Rosary!

Repeat the steps for the other 4 mysteries

  • Announce/meditate on the mystery
  • Recite an Our Father
  • Recite 10 Hail Marys
  • Recite a Glory Be

Any concluding prayers?

That’s up to you really. It’s appropriate to finish with the Hail Holy Queen, which goes like this:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To you do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this exile
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb,
O clement, 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. Amen.]

There are other ways to finish the Rosary, but they vary a lot from Catholic to Catholic, and none are strictly required anyway.


I hope you can see that the Rosary is so easy, isn’t it? It’s the greatest prayer in the world (with the exception, obviously, of the Mass), and yet it’s also one of the simplest.


If you want to be a saint, learn to be simple. Don’t overcomplicate life or prayer.

Psalm 131: ‘LORD, my heart is not proud, nor are my eyes haughty. I do not busy myself with great matters, nor with things too sublime for me.’

David’s secret to sanctity is simplicity.

Let it be yours and mine too.

God bless you very much, and if you have any questions or wish to add a comment, please do so!!

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