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Wayne Abell wrote:


Thanks again for all the materials on the Catholic faith.

I have one question:

  • How do you hold the Rosary beads?

By the way, I have already gone through your handout materials and I have learned things I did not know about the Catholic faith.

Again thanks,


  { Can you tell a very interested newbie how to hold and pray the Rosary and how to use the beads? }

Mike replied:

Hi Wayne,

Great to hear from you!

You said:
How do you hold the Rosary beads?

Good question. Cradle Catholics like me, sometimes take this for granted.

Let me share with you, not only how to hold the rosary, but an overall "How to pray the Rosary".

You put your thumb on the crucifix and your fore finger (the one you point with) behind the crucifix and say "the Creed".

After you are finished, you move your thumb and fore finger to the first single bead right next to the crucifix and say the "Our Father".

After that, you will see some spacing and a set of three beads.
Say a "Hail Mary" on each of these beads in the same way as described above.

Each of these beads are said for an increase of the three theological virtues:

  • Faith
  • Hope and
  • Charity

  • You finish this section by saying the "Glory Be"

Then you will see some more spacing and another single bead.

  • Put your thumb on that bead and your fore finger behind it, like you have done up to now
  • say the "First Joyful Mystery - The Annunciation" to yourself or aloud
  • and say the Our Father.

You will see that the next part of the Rosary is the centerpiece. To the right and the left of that centerpiece are 10 beads close together. Go either way and say 10 "Hail Mary's" on each of those beads, WHILE: Important part, meditating on the particular event in the life of Jesus and/or Mary; in this case: Mary's choice {free will} to say YES to the angel Gabriel to become the Mother of Jesus, Our Divine Savior. This is known as the Annunciation.

At first, the meditation portion can be a little difficult, but it is an important aspect to the Rosary. We would say, the (internal) meditation or thinking about each Mystery is the Soul of the Rosary itself. Without the meditation, we fall into the error of vain repetition.

Question you may have: If we are having a hard time with the meditation portion of the Rosary, do we still get graces and blessings? The Answer: SURE!!

Once you finish saying the Hail Mary on the last bead and meditating on this mystery, you will notice some spacing, a single bead and ten more beads.

Before you start the next mystery meditation, put your thumb and fore finger on the spacing in between the last of the ten beads and before the NEXT single bead and say the "Glory Be".

After you have finished praying the "Glory Be" and "O My Jesus" prayer, you have completed one decade of the Rosary.

On that next single bead, put your thumb on that bead and your fore finger behind it and say the "Second Joyful Mystery - The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth her cousin" to yourself or aloud, and start the process over again: saying the prayers while meditating on the new mystery, the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother to her cousin St. Elizabeth.

For each set of (one Our Father, 10 Hail Mary's and one Glory Be, that we pray), we {meditate on or think about} one important event in the life of Jesus and Mary.

There are 20 Holy Events in the Life of Jesus and Mary that we meditate on. Most Catholics meditate on 5 mysteries a day. The twenty Holy Events are grouped into the:

  • Joyful Mysteries/Events
  • Luminous Mysteries/Events
  • Sorrowful Mysteries/Events and
  • Glorious Mysteries/Events

of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother's Life.

If you are interested in what the mysteries/holy events are, you can check out the fifteen promises for those who pray the Rosary. This can be a little difficult at first, but, remember, Our Lord understands and reads the heart and knows our intent.

After you have said/prayed the fifth holy Mystery, you will be back at the centerpiece. Put your thumb on the centerpiece and your fore finger (the one you point with) behind the centerpiece and say the "Hail Holy Queen" followed by the "O God, Whose Only-begotten Son (Offertory)"

Most Catholics finished by saying:

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Hope this helps!

Take care,


Prayers of 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 Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into Hell; the third day he rose 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 the life everlasting.

Amen. [ back ]

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.
[Matthew 6:9-13]

Amen. [ back ]

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; [Luke 1:28]
blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. [Luke 1:42]

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen. [ back ]

The Glory Be

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.

Popular optional add-on after the Glory Be:

O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy Mercy.

Amen. [ back ]

Hail Holy Queen and Offertory

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 towards us
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of Thy womb, Jesus
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Pray for us O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worth of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray.


O God, Whose Only-begotten Son, by his life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for use 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. [ back ]

Wayne replied:

Thanks, Mike--

This is very helpful to me as a novice. I am starting the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults class this Sunday.

By the way, I saw on your web site that you wanted information on the people like me who are interested in the Catholic faith.

Here it goes: I am 58 years old, married with 3 grown children and 1 grandchild. I was a Southern Baptist all my life and my wife was a Pentecostal. My father was raised by the Jesuits and graduated from Catholic universities: Columbus School of Law. My aunt was also a nun with the Sisters of the Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana. Since my father was a lapsed Catholic, my mother raised me Baptist. I always felt I missed out on the Catholic experience. I now live in Clearwater, Florida.

I hope this helps and again, thanks for all the help.


Mike replied:

Hi Wayne,

Glad I could help. If there are any other questions you have that the Catechism doesn't answer, just come back to our site and ask us. That's what we are here for.

To paraphrase my Catholic Apologist colleague: Scott Hahn:

The only dumb question, is the one not asked.

Informational Note: For those readers who do not know anything about the Holy Rosary, they can check out my little MS-WORD and PDF write-up. If you are a Protestant who is new to the Rosary, get one here.

Take care!


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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