(Adapted from the website: http://www.catholicity.com/prayer/rosary.html)
The Order of Prayers
The Rosary begins with the Apostles Creed, followed by one Our Father, three Hail Marys (traditionally offered for an increase in faith, hope, and charity for those praying the Rosary), a Glory Be, and, if desired, the Fatima Prayer. Next come five mysteries, each consisting of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, a Glory Be, and, if desired, the Fatima Prayers. Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen.
If you do not have Rosary beads, it is perfectly okay to count with your fingers. Counting beads frees your mind to help you meditate.
Prayers for Praying the Rosary
The Apostle’s 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 Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall 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 the life everlasting. Amen.
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.
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, Amen.
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.
Fatima Prayer (Optional)
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do 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 toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Leader: Pray for us O Holy Mother of God,
All: That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.
Leader: Let us pray.
All: 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 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.
The Twenty Mysteries
Here is a brief listing and description of all twenty Mysteries.
The Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel “announces” to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.
The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.
The Nativity: Jesus is born.
The Presentation: Mary and Joseph “present” Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.
The Finding in the Temple: After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.
The Luminous Mysteries
The Baptism in the Jordan: The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.
The Wedding at Cana: Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.
The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Jesus calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.
The Transfiguration: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.
The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony in the Garden: Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.
The Scourging at the Pillar: Pilate has Jesus whipped.
The Crowning with Thorns: Roman soldiers crown Jesus’ head with thorns.
The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.
The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.
The Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead.
The Ascension: Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily “ascends” to heaven.
The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.
The Assumption: Mary is taken bodily–assumed–into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.
The Coronation: Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Mysteries for Certain Weekdays
Monday – Joyful
Tuesday – Sorrowful
Wednesday – Glorious
Thursday – Luminous
Friday – Sorrowful
Saturday – Joyful
Sunday – Glorious
Try to place yourself “into” the scene of the particular mystery as you pray, imagining the sights, smells, sounds, and emotions that Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other participants experienced during the actual events.
It is also okay to meditate on the meaning of the words of the prayers as you pray them, or even to meditate on the person for whom you are offering the Rosary.
Practically everyone who prays the Rosary “offers” the Rosary to God and Our Lady for an intention. Some people offer particular intentions before each decade. You can ask God to grant you a favor, heal a sick person, or convert a sinner. Some people offer the same intention every day–sometimes for years on end–especially when asking the Father for the conversion of a particular person. Intentions are as varied as the people who pray.
Ask for big and small gifts. Be bold! In this sense, the Rosary is an exchange of gifts between friends.
It is widely known that Our Lady answers seemingly impossible intentions to those who are first beginning to pray the Rosary. This is her way of drawing you closer to Her and to Jesus. If you are praying your first Rosary, or returning to the Rosary after years of not talking to Our Lady, ask for something big, spectacular, “impossible.” She’ll often surprise you.