The rosary is the most widespread Catholic form of devotion today. Reason enough to think briefly about the rosary (also called paternoster cord).


In addition to the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary has been an integral part of the spiritual life of the Catholics for centuries. During the prayer of the rosary the Hail Mary is repeated 50 times. At first glance this seems to contradict the Bible, which says: “When you pray, do not babble like the pagans who think they will only be heard if they say many words. Do not do as they do” (Mt 6:7-8). But this teaching clearly refers to pure supplication and not to the Rosary. The Rosary is usually prayed with the help of a consecrated prayer cord with a cross and a certain number of beads, most of which are arranged in a circle.

In its most common form, the rosary is a regular sequence of one Our Father and ten Hail Marys each, combined with contemplation from the life and work of Jesus. Each of these rosary sets is concluded with the doxology. The Rosary is thus a contemplative prayer that focuses on the mysteries of the birth, life, suffering and resurrection of Jesus. The rosary also connects us in a special way with Mary. When praying the rosary, she takes us by the hand and leads us to Jesus.

Pope John Paul II added the mysteries of light to the Rosary with the Apostolic Letter Rosarium virginis mariae of October 16, 2002. These call mysteries of faith between the childhood and the suffering of Jesus and complement the three classical forms.

The individual elements of the rosary are as follows.

Sign of the cross: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Apostolic Creed: I believe in God the Father, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, descended into the kingdom of death, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven; He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, communion of saints, forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the dead and eternal life. Amen.

Doxology: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as in the beginning, so also now and for all time and forever. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who need Your mercy most. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Your 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 the wicked. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed art 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.

On Sunday and Wednesday the Glorious Rosary is prayed, on Monday and Saturday the Joyful Rosary, on Tuesday and Friday the Sorrowful Rosary and on Thursday the Lightful Rosary

Joyful Rosary (Mon/Sat), Birth: Jesus whom you, O virgin, have received g1 from the Holy Spirit (Luke 1, 35); g2 carried to Elizabeth (Luke 1, 39-56); g3 born in Bethlehem (Luke 2, 1-20); g4 sacrificed in the temple (Luke 2, 22-24); g5 found again in the temple (Luke 2, 41-52)

Liminous Rosary (Do), life: Jesus, who g1 was baptized by John (Lk 3, 21-22); g2 revealed Himself at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2, 1-12); g3 proclaimed the Kingdom of God to us (Mt 9, 35); g4 was transfigured on the mountain (Lk 9, 28-36); g5 gave us the Eucharist (Mk 14, 17-25)

Sorrowful rosary (Tue/Fri), suffering: Jesus who sweated blood for us g1 (Lk 22:44); g2 was scourged (Jn 19:1); g3 was crowned with thorns (Jn 19:2); g4 carried the heavy cross (Jn 19:17); g5 was crucified (Jn 17:18)

Glorious Rosary (Sun/Mi), Resurrection: Jesus who g1 rose from the dead (Lk 24:6); g2 ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11); g3 sent us the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13); g4 received you, O virgin, into heaven (1 Cor 15:22-23); g5 crowned you, O virgin, in heaven (Rev 12:1)

Brotherhoods of the Rosary

The Brotherhoods of the Rosary deserve special attention. These are a community of lay people (lay fraternity) founded by Dominicans in the 15th century. Their aim is to deepen the piety of broad masses of people through the prayer of the Rosary.


Unpublished materials on the Rosary in private library

Mikocki, Benno (2005); Der Rosenkranz: Rhythmus des Himmels; Sankt Ulrich Verlag.

Wallner, Karl (2019); Beten ist einfach: Meditationen zum Rosenkranz; Verlag St. Benno (insbesondere für Kinder und Jugendliche geeignet).

Website about the rosary at Kathpedia (website).

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