What is the rosary? 

The rosary is an ancient prayer form based on the life of Jesus. It can be traced back to the twelfth century when people who could not read or write would count their prayers on a string of beads. The early forms of the rosary consisted of a string of 15o beads. Today, the rosary beads have 5 sets of 10 beads separated by single beads. The 10 beads are used to count the Our Father and 10 Hail Marys which are recited while the people meditate on some aspect of the life of Jesus. The single beads are used when the Glory Be to the Father is recited.

The rosary begins and ends with Jesus on the Cross. People begin the prayer with the Sign of the Cross and the recitation of the Apostles' Creed. The 5 beads that follow the crucifix are used to count an Our Father, 3 Hail Mary's and the Glory be to the Father. The mysteries that will be the focus of the rosary meditation are announced and the first decade is introduced usually with a reading of the scripture passage associated with the mystery.

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary 

The joyful mysteries deal with the happy times that Mary recalled about her son Jesus. They are as follows:

First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation

Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus

Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation in the Temple

Fifth Joyful Mystery: Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple

Here's a website worth visiting for an outline of each of the joyful mysteries:

http://www.rosary-center.org/joyful.htm

The joyful mysteries are recited on Mondays and Saturdays. During the Christmas season, they are also recited on Sundays.

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary

The sorrowful mysteries present us with the sad times that Mary recalled about the suffering and death of her son Jesus. They are as follows:

First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion

Here's a website worth visiting for an outline of each of the sorrowful mysteries:

http://www.rosary-center.org/sorrow.htm

The sorrowful mysteries are recited on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary

The luminous mysteries are sometimes known as the mysteries of light. They present some of the amazing times in the life of Jesus that Mary would have thought about a lot because they said so much about who her Son was. They are as follows:

First Luminous Mystery: The Baptism of Jesus

Second Luminous Mystery: The Wedding Feast of Cana

Third Luminous Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God

Fourth Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration of Our Lord

Fifth Luminous Mystery: The Last Supper and the Sacrament of the Eucharist

Here's a website worth visiting for an outline of each of the luminous mysteries:

http://www.rosary-center.org/luminous.htm

The luminous mysteries are recited every Thursday.

The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary

The glorious mysteries present times of glory and blessing in the life of Jesus and also of Mary. They are as follows:

First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection

Second Glorious Mystery: The Ascension

Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

Fourth Glorious Mystery: The Assumption

Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Here's a website worth visiting for an outline of each of the glorious mysteries:

http://www.rosary-center.org/glorious.htm

The glorious mysteries are recited on Wednesdays and Sundays.