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What is a Rosary Service?

Many religions have funeral rites or rituals that take place after someone dies. For Catholics, the rosary is a part of the traditional Catholic funeral rites. The rosary is a set of prayers said after someone passes away and often takes place at the vigil or viewing.

What is a rosary service before a funeral?

A rosary service is a part of funeral rites that take place in the Catholic tradition. A rosary service is typically held the night prior to the burial of someone who has passed away. Rosary services are generally open to anyone who wishes to attend. It is also common for the rosary service to be held at the same time the wake or viewing is taking place.

What happens during a funeral rosary?

During the rosary, Catholics will recite the rosary while holding a set of prayer beads that have a crucifix attached to them. The rosary is a set of prayers that are repeated and organized into five different sets (also known as decades). Each of these sets meditates on an event that occurred in Christ’s life.

Who leads the rosary?

When a rosary is done at the funeral or a rosary for a funeral vigil is held, it’s typically recited as a group. That being said, the rosary can be performed and recited alone, if preferred. The rosary has five sets of prayers included, and in some cases, friends and family may decide to include additional scriptures or passages between recitation of the sets of prayers.

Can non-Catholics join in the rosary?

Yes, anyone who wants to join in the rosary can participate. If you’re not a Catholic and want to prepare for the rosary beforehand, you can ask to borrow a set of rosary prayer beads. Additionally, it may be helpful to look into the rosary prayers before the service so that you’re familiar with them when it comes time to recite them.

Do I have to participate in the rosary?

Participation in a rosary is not required and may feel uncomfortable or inauthentic to some who aren’t Catholic. If you’d prefer not to participate, you can stand or sit in silent observation or offer your own silent prayers while the rosary is happening.

How to lead a Catholic rosary

The rosary has many different parts (and many parts that are repeated throughout), so it’s important to have a general understanding of what to expect when attending a rosary. If you’re in charge of leading a rosary, it’s important to know the exact order in which you need to recite things. Here’s an outline of funeral rosary prayers, according to Saint Mary’s Parish:

Step 1. Start with the Sign of the Cross.

You: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. In times of sickness and death, prayers are the best means of consolation, comfort and help that people can give. Let us now begin this Rosary by calling on our Blessed Mother Mary to pray for us now as we pray for [Name of deceased]. God of heaven, You called [Name of deceased] from this life. God of Mercy, fulfill [his/her] faith and hope in You. Lead [Name of deceased] safely home to heaven to be with You forever, filled with joy and peace in Your presence. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

Step 2. Recite the Apostles’ Creed.

You: “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, died and was buried. He descended into hell; on 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 there He will come to judge the living and the dead.”

Everyone: “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.”

Step 3. Go to The Lord’s Prayer.

You: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Everyone: “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. Amen.”

Step 4. Recite Hail Mary (Repeat this 3 times).

You: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

Everyone: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

Step 5. Recite Glory Be.

You: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.”

Everyone: “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

Step 6. First decade.

You: “A person’s life is patterned on the life of Jesus. Jesus was conceived, born, grew in grace, wisdom and age. As an adult, He worked at a trade, carried on His ministry with difficulty. He suffered, died and was buried. In the First Decade of the Rosary, let us reflect on the mystery of suffering. Jesus suffered a bitter agony and the cruel scourging to lead us on the way to the Father. Let our prayer intention be that [Name of deceased], having accepted the suffering of life, may be at peace with the Lord.”

Step 7. Recite The Lord’s Prayer.
Step 8. Recite Hail Mary (Repeat this 10 times).
Step 9. Recite Glory Be.
Step 10. Recite Fatima and Eternal Rest Prayers.

You: “O my Jesus,”

Everyone: “Forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”

You: “Eternal rest grant unto [Name of deceased], O Lord.”

Everyone: “And let perpetual light shine upon [him/her].”

You: “May he/she rest in peace. ”

Everyone: “Amen.”

Step 11. Second decade.

You: “In the Second Decade, we will consider how Jesus willingly bore our sins when He was crowned with thorns, carried His cross to Calvary and was then crucified on the cross in a supreme act of love. Let our intention be that [Name of deceased] having carried [his/her] cross, may now share the glory of a true disciple.”

Step 12. Recite The Lord’s Prayer.
Step 13. Recite Hail Mary (Repeat 10 times).
Step 14. Recite Glory Be.
Step 15. Recite Fatima & Eternal Rest Prayers.
Step 16. Third decade.

You: “In the Third Decade, we will reflect on the Glorious Mystery of Jesus rising from the dead. Jesus said: “I am the Resurrection and the life, whoever believes in Me, though he should die, will come to life.” This is the glory of Easter and of our faith; that we too will be raised to glory. Let our intention be that [Name of deceased], having believed in the Lord is now with Him in glory.”

Step 17. Recite The Lord’s Prayer.
Step 18. Recite Hail Mary (Repeat 10 times).
Step 19. Recite Glory Be.
Step 20. Recite Fatima & Eternal Rest Prayers.
Step 21. Fourth decade.

You: ”In the Fourth Decade, we contemplate the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and His sending us the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus returned to the Father, He promised the Apostles and all disciples present and future, that He was returning to the Father to prepare a place for them, that He would send His Spirit to guide them and that He would be with them until the end of time. Let our intention be that [Name of deceased]’s family and all others who mourn loved ones, be assured that they have reached the place that Jesus prepared for them.”

Step 22. Recite The Lord’s Prayer.
Step 23. Recite Hail Mary (Repeat 10 times).
Step 24. Recite Glory Be.
Step 25. Recite Fatima & Eternal Rest Prayers.
Step 26. Fifth decade.

You: ”In the Fifth Decade, we reflect on the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our Christian life by considering the meaning of her Assumption into Heaven and her Coronation as Queen of Heaven. Mary is honored by God and all humankind. She was the most perfect disciple and the model of all the saints. Because of her perfect faith and obedience, her standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus; all Catholics believe she was assumed into Heaven, and was honored not only by God, but by all the angels and saints as well. We don’t know exactly what her reward was but in our finite way, we say she was crowned with Glory and honor. Her crown of sparking jewels is a symbol of her reward. Let our intention be that [Name of deceased] also receives the reward of [his/her] faith. ”

Step 27. Recite The Lord’s Prayer.
Step 28. Recite Hail Mary (Repeat 10 times).
Step 29. Recite Glory Be.
Step 30. Recite Fatima & Eternal Rest Prayers.
Step 31. Concluding prayers.

You: “Hail Holy Queen.”

Everyone: “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 worthy of the promises of Christ. ”

You: “O God,”

Everyone: “Whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that while 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.”

You: “Eternal rest grant unto [Name of deceased], O Lord

Everyone: ”And let perpetual light shine upon [him/her].”

You: “May he/she rest in peace.”

Everyone: ”Amen”

You: “May [his/her] soul and all the souls of the Faithful Departed through the Mercy of God, Rest in Peace.”

Everyone: ”Amen. ”

You (Sign of the Cross): “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

You can download a PDF of these prayers here.

If you’re holding a funeral service or funeral rosary, it’s a good idea to set up a memorial website. Memorial websites help you keep track of those attending, keep in touch with your community, and let others support each other and connect over the loss of a loved one. Memorial websites are easy to use and easy to set up.

Start a memorial website

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Last updated July 15, 2021
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