HOW TO PRAY THE ROSARY
1. Take your Rosary beads and Rosary booklet and go to a quiet area. Ideally you should kneel, but it is not mandatory.
2. Open to the Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious mysteries in the Rosary booklet (you can choose which mysteries you would like to meditate on each time you say the Rosary. It’s good to choose a different mystery each time as well).
3. To start, say the first prayers devoutly (Sign of the cross, Apostles creed, Our Father, Three Hail Mary’s and Glory Be).
4. Now there are 5 “decades” left in the Rosary (each decade consists of an Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, the Glory Be, and the Fatima Prayer). For example, if you chose the Joyful mysteries in your booklet, then when starting the first decade, announce the mystery, “the Annunciation”, and then you will read one sentence under the Annunciation before saying each Hail Mary (there is one sentence you read for each Hail Mary). Be sure to hold each bead as you say each prayer. For the second decade you will read one sentence under the Visitation for each Hail Mary and so on for the remaining decades.
5. At the end of the Rosary, finish by devoutly saying the Hail Holy Queen and Sign of the Cross.
6. If you’re new to the Rosary, it may take longer than it normally would until you memorize all the prayers (which happens automatically if you say it regularly). Initially you can reference the prayer sheet above to say the prayers. Once the prayers are memorized, you can then read each sentence in the book WHILE you say each Hail Mary. Then the Rosary usually takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. If you feel you can meditate on the mysteries without the booklet, you may do that as well, or you may purchase or download pictures for each mystery and look at these while saying the Rosary instead.
7. We found a great time to say the Rosary is first thing in the morning while you are wide awake and you’re your mind is free of distraction. Saying the Rosary while driving also works well for many since many of us spend a lot of time in the car. In addition, it is especially easy to say the Rosary in the car when it is said along with an audio cassette or CD of the Rosary. These may be purchased from religious stores on the Internet.
8. The Rosary should be said devoutly and slowly. The prayers are the body of the Rosary. The meditation is the soul of the Rosary. Both are essential if you want to say the Rosary properly.
9. After a while the text in the booklet will become so familiar that using the booklet will become optional and saying the Rosary in general will become very easy. While you are learning, it may seem more difficult. Don’t get discouraged! We know people who are so accustomed to saying the Rosary that they can easily say three Rosaries per day and not find it difficult at all.
10. Don't try to extract lessons from the mysteries. St. Ignatius said to just meditate on the scenes of Our Lord's life without trying to pull out all kinds of lessons and applications to your life. Like a movie, they will begin to say something to you without your having to do anything but look. While you are looking at the scenes, God is giving you grace and working in your heart.
11. It is also preferable to pray the Rosary when possible with others because then we receive the reward for their Rosaries as well as for our own. The Rosary said in groups has been shown to be very powerful.
It is perfectly normal to be distracted at times while praying. You may be unhappy with yourself if you have had many distractions during prayer, but God is pleased with you just as long as you did not deliberately let your mind wander. If you find you have been distracted, simply return to mediation on the mysteries and continue. There is no need to repeat any of the decades in which you were distracted unless your distraction was deliberate.