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What are the prayers of the rosary?

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Quick Answer

The prayers of the Catholic rosary, which are said on beads, include the Apostles' Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, the Glory Be, Hail Holy Queen and mysteries telling of episodes in Jesus' life. People repeat these prayers in groups, or decades, to say a complete rosary.

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Full Answer

The Apostles' Creed gives many tenets of Christianity, including a belief in the Trinity; Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection; the last judgment; and eternal life. The Our Father invokes God the Father. The Glory Be prayer invokes the Trinity. The Hail Mary and Hail Holy Queen invoke Mary, Jesus' mother.

The mysteries are divided into the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. Mysteries include the announcement to Mary that she is to conceive Jesus, Jesus' birth, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus. The Glorious Mysteries include Jesus' resurrection, his ascension into heaven and Mary's assumption into heaven at the end of her life on Earth.

People saying the rosary announce the mysteries at the beginning of a decade. The word "decade" refers to the 10 Hail Mary's said in each cycle. Usually people recite five decades in one complete rosary.

Some people add other prayers, including Let Us Pray; Fatima prayers No. 1 and 2; the Litany of the Blessed Virgin; and the Memorare of St. Bernard, another prayer to Mary.

The prayers of the rosary have changed over the years, including as recently as 2002, when Pope John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries. Tradition says Mary revealed the rosary to St. Dominic in the 12th century.

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