Are these all valid ways to pray the Rosary?

My apologies for using this much space to cover all the bases, but I’d like your opinion on the different approaches I use to the Rosary. Let me stress at the beginning that I agree that the correct “cookbook” method of meditating on the mysteries should be used, but that the circumstances dictate how this is done. Also, know that I nearly always do two or more Rosaries in any given day (I’m a retired widower living alone, and have plenty of time for this).

I belong to a Rosary group that does the Rosary aloud prior to morning Mass. Here I do concentrate on the mysteries, but also need to give attention to staying in sync with the others. (When it’s my turn to lead, practically all my attention has to go to my delivery, of course.)

My strongest meditation time is in the evening, and I do the full-blown reflection on the mysteries. Sometimes this Rosary lasts over an hour, with many Hail Mary’s beyond the end of the decade, because I often get wrapped up in the scenario.

I am scheduled for Adoration for one hour a week on Monday, and am almost always alone. I always do a Rosary here, and instead of sticking to the joyful mysteries, I rotate all four in turn throughout the month because of the special setting. I feel this must be okay, because, after all, all four decades are used in one day to pray a “Grand” 20-decade Rosary (which I do very rarely). And remember, I’ve already done the joyful at morning Mass.

Sometimes I have a special intention. For example, I have a family member who has been blessed with a long-awaited pregnancy. I dedicate one of my Rosaries and assign the joyful mysteries, whatever the day, but (while announcing each mystery as usual) I then focus on mysteries #1 and #2 and on the member herself and her family throughout the Rosary. When the baby comes I’ll probably shift my focus to #3, and #4 for baptism. :slight_smile:

Once in a while I have a special problem I need to deal with, and instead of spending a lot of time meditating I use a lot of the Rosary to share my problem with Mary, asking her to share it in turn with Jesus, thus reinforcing my prayers to Him about it. I know that I have been helped immensely following many of these Rosaries, often seeing an obvious solution by the time I’ve finished!

Finally, I say the Rosary on the road, but do practically none of the above except announce each mystery; my obvious duty is to pay attention to my driving, and so I’m actually praying for a safe trip using the Rosary for a background.

Sorry I took so long to go through all this, but do you have an issue with any of these scenarios? I deliver each Rosary with sincerity, and no mechanical repetition, and I get the same feeling of the presence of Jesus and Mary with each approach.

By the way, I have seen several “my way or the highway” attitudes in some of the various “how-to” instructions that get published; I hope none of those authors are tearing their hair saying “Oh no! He’s doing it all wrong!!!” I feel that it’s important to recognize that, in the end, it is a personal communication to our Mother and her Son.

Thank you for your help, and for your patience to take the time to read all this. I promise to try to make my next question much shorter! :o


The Rosary is a private devotion; it is not liturgy. When you pray it alone, by all means adapt it to your situation. What is of greatest importance is that we PRAY. I pray the Rosary, while driving to work. I tend to dwell on the Sorrowful Mysteries because they constitute the very heart of our salvation. Actually, I am able to reflect on the Passion to some degree–depending on the traffic.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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