First of all, welcome! Now, to answer your questions:
If you are seriously thinking about becoming Catholic, I recommend that you contact your local Catholic priest and talk to him. He can advise you about any questions/concerns you have concerning the faith, and can also help you to determine whether you should enter RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and when this can be done. (RCIA programs usually start in September, with the person being baptized/received into the Church (if one has already been validly baptized with a Trinitarian formula) at Easter of the next year or the year after that, depending on the program.) If you’re interested but still not positively sure conversion is for you, you can still start RCIA - the requirement for a formal commitment does not occur until later in the process. In fact, the initial part of RCIA is all about “coming and seeing”, as Jesus told some of the first disciples.
In terms of the Rosary: it is prayed on a set of rosary beads (available at any Catholic bookstore and some Catholic churches; you should have it blessed by a priest) and is prayed according to a specific formula.
If you look at the beads, you’ll notice a cross at the bottom, followed by a single bead, a string of three beads, then another single bead, and then a medal. Above the medal is a ring of five sets of beads; each has one single bead and a string of ten beads. These strings of ten beads are what we call “decades”. You begin the rosary by praying the Apostles’ Creed, holding the cross in your hand. Then, on the first single bead, you pray one Our Father. Next, you pray three Hail Marys, one on each of the beads in the string. (These are prayed for an increase in the three theological virtues, faith, hope, and love.) Finally you pray the Glory Be and the Fatima Aspiration. Then, you begin the “mysteries”. There are four sets of five mysteries, so there is one mystery for each decade. Each decade begins with an Our Father (said while holding the large single bead) and then is comprised of ten Hail Marys (said on the smaller beads), a Glory Be, and the Fatima Aspiration. The “mysteries” are events in the life of Jesus and His Mother, and provide a basis for meditation. (The original rosary had 15 mysteries, three sets of five. They also represented Our Lady’s Psalter, the Hail Mary said 150 times, in honour of the 150 Psalms. Bl. John Paul the Great added a fourth set of mysteries.)
I’ll give you a list of the mysteries, the request for each, and the days on which they’re said. You can find the appropriate prayers anywhere on the Internet, or you can usually purchase a book/pamphlet on the rosary at any Catholic bookstore. Some rosaries even come with such a booklet.
Joyful Mysteries (said on Mondays, and the Sundays of Advent):
- The Annunciation (when the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Christ; we pray for the virtue of humility).
- The Visitation (when Mary visited Elizabeth; we pray for the virtue of charity towards our neighbour).
- The Nativity of the Lord (we pray for the spirit of poverty).
- The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (we pray for the virtue of obedience).
- The Finding of Jesus in the Temple when He was 12 (we pray for the virtue of piety).
Sorrowful Mysteries (said on Tuesdays, Fridays, and the Sundays of Lent)
- The Agony in the Garden (we pray for true contrition for our sins)
- The Scourging at the Pillar (we pray for purity).
- The Crowning with Thorns (we pray for moral courage).
- The Carrying of the Cross (we pray for patience).
- The Death of Christ on the Cross (we pray for final perseverance).
Glorious Mysteries (said on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays outside Advent and Lent)
- The Resurrection (we pray for the virtue of faith).
- The Ascension of Jesus into heaven (we pray for the virtue of hope).
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit (we pray for the virtue of love of God).
- The Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven (we pray for devotion to Mary and a happy death).
- The Coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven and earth (we pray for eternal happiness).
Luminous Mysteries/Mysteries of Light (added by Bl. John Paul the Great; said on Thursdays)
- The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (we pray for fidelity to our Baptismal promises).
- The Wedding at Cana (we pray for the virtue of obedience to the Lord, as Mary instructed.)
- The Preaching of Jesus/The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (we pray for a conversion of heart).
- The Transfiguration (we pray for a holy fear of God).
- The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper (we pray to always be welcome at Our Lord’s table).
There are also other prayers, such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Rosary of the Holy Wounds, that are prayed on the rosary. These are fully approved by the Church and may be said on ordinary rosary beads.