How to pray a novena rosary for a deceased person

Updated July 19, 2017

The Rosary is a devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, that is popular among Catholics. The term "rosary" refers to both the set of prayers that make up the devotion as well as the physical object, a string of beads, used to count the prayers. According to Catholic tradition, St. Dominic introduced the devotion in 1214 CE and Blessed Alan gave the Rosary its final form in 1460 CE. The Rosary Novena is an extended devotion spanning 54 days. When recited with intentions for someone who is deceased, the person praying inserts into the devotion certain special prayers for the dead.

Recite the Rosary over 54 sessions. The object is to perform six Novenas (nine-day devotions) consecutively. There are three common patterns in recitation: one Rosary (five decades) a day for 54 days, one "full" Rosary (15 decades) daily for 18 days, or five decades once a week for 54 weeks. The purpose is to foster continuity in prayer.

Make the sign of the cross and say, "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen." State your intention at this point of the Rosary during the first 27 recitations (three novenas). Your intention is a petition for the favour you seek, such as the repose of the soul of a deceased person. To phrase the intention, say something like, "Dear Lord, we offer this Rosary, part of a Rosary Novena, for the gift/intention of ..."

Recite the "Apostles' Creed" prayer on the Crucifix. Say:

"I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen."

Recite the "Our Father" prayer on the first bead. Say:

"Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. 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."

Recite the "Hail Mary" prayer three times, on the following group of three beads. Say:

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and the hour of our death. Amen."

Recite the "Glory Be" prayer, immediately after the three Hail Marys. Say:

"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."

Recite the "Hail Mary" prayer 10 times, corresponding to the first group of beads. This group of 10 prayers is called a "decade." You will recite five decades, 50 Hail Marys in total, during one Rosary.

Recite the "Eternal Rest" prayer immediately after each decade. Say:

"Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord; may your perpetual light shine upon him/her. May he/she rest in peace. Amen."

Recite the "Our Father" prayer on the single beads between the decades.

Recite the "De Profundis," otherwise known as Psalm 130, after the five decades have been said, on the centrepiece. The centrepiece is an icon, an image of a saint or holy person, that allows the beads to form a circle. The term "De Profundis" is a Latin title for Psalm 130 and it is acceptable to read from a prayer book or Bible.

State a thanksgiving formula at the beginning of the last 27 sessions (three novenas). A thanksgiving formula might be "Dear Lord, we offer this Rosary, part of a Rosary Novena, in thanksgiving for the gift of ..."


Use an explicit intention, such as the reparation of the sins of a soul in Purgatory, in reciting the Rosary Novena. A specific intention will focus your devotion, help to prevent you from being distracted, as might happen with a vague intention, and bring about greater spiritual fulfilment. Optional: Announce a "Mystery" before each decade. A Mystery is an event in Biblical or Catholic tradition concerning Mary or Jesus. There are three sets of five mysteries: Joyful, annunciation, visitation, nativity of Jesus, presentation of Jesus, Jesus in the temple; Sorrowful, agony in the garden, scourging of Jesus, placement of the crown of thorns, Jesus carrying the cross, crucifixion; Glorious, resurrection, ascension, descent of the Holy Spirit, assumption of Mary, coronation of Mary. Use the Glorious Mysteries, predominantly, for intentions for the deceased, according to tradition. It is acceptable to use a prayer book or list of mysteries for this practice.


This devotion tests patience and perseverance in prayer. The aspect of continuity is a key element. Therefore, missing a prayer session is strongly discouraged. Also, if you miss a prayer session, begin the Novena over again.

Things You'll Need

  • Rosary
  • Bible or Prayer book
  • List of Mysteries of the Rosary (optional)
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