The Rosary is divided into five decades. Each decade represents a mystery or event in the life of Jesus. There are four sets of “Mysteries of the Rosary” (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious). These four “Mysteries of the Rosary” therefore contain, a total of twenty mysteries. The Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries are then said on specific days of the week (see each set of mysteries below). During private recitation of the Rosary, each decade requires devout meditation on a specific mystery. Public recitation of the Rosary (two or more people), requires a leader to announce each of the mysteries before the decade, and start each prayer (see “The Family Rosary” below).
The Apostle’s Creed is said on the Crucifix; the Our Father is said on each of the Large Beads; the Hail Mary is said on each of the Small Beads; the Glory Be after the three Hail Mary’s at the beginning of the Rosary, and after each decade of Small Beads. In June 13, 1917, Our Lady asked that an additional prayer be added after each decade of the Rosary (see prayers at the end of this document). It is a prayer of forgiveness to Jesus and is said following the Glory Be after each decade only.
The Joyful Mysteries
(Said on Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays of Advent, and Sundays from Epiphany until Lent)
First Joyful Mystery – The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary
I Desire the Love Of Humility
The humility of the Blessed Virgin when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words: “Hail full of grace”.
Second Joyful Mystery – The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth
I Desire Charity Toward My Neighbor
Mary’s charity in visiting her cousin Elizabeth and remaining with her for three months before the birth of John the Baptist.
Third Joyful Mystery – The Birth of Jesus
I Desire the Love of God
The poverty, so lovingly accepted by Mary when she placed the Infant Jesus, our God and Redeemer, in a manger in the stable of Bethlehem.
Fourth Joyful Mystery – The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
I Desire a Spirit of Sacrifice
Mary’s obedience to the law of God in presenting the Child Jesus in the Temple.
Fifth Joyful Mystery – Finding Jesus in the Temple
I desire Zeal For The Glory Of God
The deep sorrow with which Mary sought the Child Jesus for three days, and the joy with which she found Him in the midst of the Teachers of the Temple.
The Luminous Mysteries
(Said on Thursdays throughout the year)
First Luminous Mystery – The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The Second Luminous Mystery – The Wedding at Cana, Christ Manifested
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
The Third Luminous Mystery – The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
The Fourth Luminous Mystery – The Transfiguration of Jesus
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
The Fifth Luminous Mystery – The Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.
The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Said on Tuesdays, Fridays, and daily from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday)
First Sorrowful Mystery – Agony of Jesus in the Garden
I Desire True Repentance for My Sins
Our Lord Jesus in the garden of Gethsemani, suffering a bitter agony for our sins.
Second Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar
I Desire a Spirit of Mortification
The cruel scourging at the pillar that our Lord suffered; the heavy blows that tore His flesh.
Third Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus is Crowned With Thorns
I Desire Moral Courage
The crown of sharp thorns that was forced upon our Lord’s Head and the patience with which He endured the pain for our sins.
Fourth Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus Carries His Cross
I Desire the Virtue of Patience
The heavy Cross, so willingly carried by our Lord, and ask Him to help you to carry your crosses without complaint.
Fifth Sorrowful Mystery – The Crucifixion of Jesus
I Desire the Grace of Final Perseverance
The love which filled Christ’s Sacred Heart during His three hours’ agony on the Cross, and ask Him to be with you at the hour of death.
The Glorious Mysteries
(Said on Wednesdays, and Sundays throughout the year)
First Glorious Mystery – The Resurrection of Jesus
I Desire a Strong Faith
Christ’s glorious triumph when, on the third day after His death, He arose from the tomb and for forty days appeared to His Blessed Mother and to His disciples.
Second Glorious Mystery – The Ascension of Jesus
I Desire the Virtue of Hope
The Ascension of Jesus Christ, forty days after His glorious Resurrection, in the presence of Mary and His disciples.
Third Glorious Mystery – The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
I Desire Zeal for the Glory of God
The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles, under the form of tongues of fire, in fulfillment of Christ’s promise.
Fourth Glorious Mystery – The Assumption of Mary into Heaven
I Desire the Grace of a Holy Death
The glorious Assumption of Mary into Heaven, when she was united with her Divine Son.
Fifth Glorious Mystery – The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
I Desire a Greater Love for the Blessed Virgin Mary
The glorious crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven by her Divine Son, to the great joy of all the Saints.
Prayers of the Rosary
Prayer Before The Rosary
Queen of the Holy Rosary, you have designed to come to Fatima and Medjugorje, to reveal to the three shepherd children and six visionaries, the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary (Mention your request). I ask it for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of souls, especially for my own. Amen.
The Our Father
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.
The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee; blessed are thou among 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
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.
Prayer to Jesus Requested By Our Lady
O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, take all souls to Heaven, and help especially those most in need of Your mercy.
The Apostles’ 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 Spirit, 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, and is seated 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 life everlasting. Amen.
Hail Holy Queen
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, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. 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.
Prayer After The Rosary
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 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.
Religious devotion, public or private, for the duration of nine days to gain special graces, is called a Novena. Those who perform it with a lively hope of having their request granted, and with perfect faith and resignation if it be refused, may be assured that Christ will grant some grace or blessing. This requires an understanding that in His infinite wisdom and mercy, He may refuse the particular favor which is requested.
Novenas originated in imitation of the Apostles who were gathered together in prayer for nine days from the time of Our Lord’s Ascension (to Heaven) until Pentecost Sunday (the descent of the Holy Spirit).
This practice of saying the Rosary nine times in the form of the Rosary Novena in petition or thanksgiving, is another way of heeding Our Lady’s request to Pray the Rosary.
The 54 Day Novena Devotion which originated in 1884 at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompei, consists of the daily recitation of five decades of the Rosary (one complete Mystery: Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious) for twenty-seven days in petition and five decades for twenty-seven additional days in thanksgiving. You will actually be making three Novenas in petition for a particular favor and three Novenas in thanksgiving for a particular favor.
1st day say the 5 Joyful Mysteries
2nd day say the 5 Luminous Mysteries
3rd day say the 5 Sorrowful Mysteries
4th day say the 5 Glorious Mysteries
5th day begin again the 5 Joyful Mysteries, etc.
The Family Rosary
The Family That Prays Together … Stays Together
The family Rosary is the Rosary recited aloud together, by as many of the family and their friends as can be present. Any family (two or more people) may say the Family Rosary in any suitable place and at any time.
A leader says aloud the first part of each prayer; a second person or group of persons answers aloud the second part of the prayer.
To begin the Family Rosary, all hold the Crucifix of their Rosary in the right hand and make the Sign of the Cross.
The leader begins the Apostles’ Creed and proceeds through the rest of the Rosary as shown on Page 2. The leader announces the Mystery before each decade. Five decades (one complete Mystery: Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious) should be recited each day.
The Five First Saturdays
Mary’s Great Promise at Fatima
The Five First Saturdays are intended to honor and to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for all the blasphemes and ingratitude of men.
This devotion and the wonderful promises connected with it were revealed by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima, a small village in Portugal. Our lady appeared to three children there in 1917, and one of the little girls, Lucy, tells us that Our Lady said:
I promise to help at the hour of death, with the graces needed for salvation, whoever on the First Saturday of five consecutive months shall:
1. Confess and Receive Communion.
2. Recite five decades of the Rosary (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, or Glorious Mysteries)
3. Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.