The Rosary needs no introdution. Even amongst non-believers, a Rosary is one of the most iconic symbols of the Catholic faith around the globe. A standard-sized Rosary contains five decades of 10 beads each, intersperced with five larger or unique beads, for each of the mysteries that are being meditated upon.
Highlights From “What I, a Non-Catholic, Discovered While Praying the Rosary”*:
When you pray the Rosary, you are connecting with Christ. You are using a visual aid (the Rosary) to inspire reflection on the life and nature of Christ.
On Mondays and Saturdays, Catholics reflect on the life of Mary, and the events leading up to Christ’s birth and His early childhood (the Joyful Mysteries).
On Thursdays, they remember some of Christ’s miracles and His early ministry, leading up to the Last Supper, (the Luminous Mysteries).
On Tuesdays and Fridays, it’s a reflection on the events of Good Friday, beginning with the Garden when Jesus is betrayed, leading up to His crucifixion (the Sorrowful Mysteries).
And finally, on Wednesdays and Sundays, it’s a celebration of Christ’s resurrection and ascension, the events of the early Church, and a life of obedience to God, rewarded at the end of Mary’s life (the Glorious Mysteries).
You can also find one-decade rosaries available, called chaplets, like a miniature Rosary for your pocket. These have ten beads, plus the mystery, and when you finish praying all of the prayers through the beat set once, you can go back and do the other decades’ worth of prayers.
Obtaining your first (blessed) rosary usually isn’t difficult. Many Catholic churches will have a free area where donations are placed as a form of outreach — prayer cards, pamphlets, and yes, even rosaries. If you find yourself without the benefit of a Rosary on you, and you’d like to try anyway, ask yourself — “Have I got 10 fingers?” If you do, you can pray the Rosary.
Holding the Rosary in your hands, you’ll begin praying starting at the ‘tail’ — the end with the Crucifix and the four beads.
Step 1: Make the Sign of the Cross, by touching your hand to your head, then your heart, then your left shoulder, and finally your right shoulder. As you do this, say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.”
Step 2: Say the Apostles’ Creed:
Step 3: Say the “Our Father”:
Step 4: For each of the three beads on the tail end, say a “Hail Mary”:
Step 5: Finish the tail off with a “Glory Be”:
You’ve now come to the first large bead on the main circle of the Rosary. There are five similar beads in all, each representating a different mystery.
Step 6: For each mystery, you will say an “Our Father”, followed by 10 “Hail Marys” and the “Glory Be”.
Step 7: Pray the “Fatima Prayer”:
Each prayer will guide you further along the circumference of the Rosary’s circle. During your prayers, be sure to reflect upon the mystery you are ruminating over. Repeat Steps #6 and #7 for all five decades, or, if you’re ambitious, try the full 20 decades all at once. When you’re finished with the final decade, you should return to your starting point.
There are a few final prayers to finish the Rosary.
Step 8: Pray the “Salve Regina” prayer:
Step 9: Pray the “Let Us Pray” prayer:
Step 10: Pray the “Memorae” prayer:
Step 11: Conclude with the “Sign of the Cross”. (See Step #1 for a refresher if needed.)
*This has been slightly edited from the original.