How to Pray the Rosary Before a Funeral

Updated February 21, 2017

Roman Catholics pray the rosary--a series of prayers and meditations--on a daily basis and during church services. During the wake of a Catholic funeral, a priest typically leads mourners in the Rosary for the Dead. Like daily rosary recitations, the Rosary for the Dead involves meditating on a set of mysteries while praying many repetitive prayers. The Rosary for the Dead, however, replaces the Fatima prayer with an Eternal Rest prayer and meditates on the Five Glorious Mysteries--Christ's Resurrection, Christ's Ascension into Heaven, the Pentecost, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the Crowning of Mary. A set of rosary beads will help you keep track of the prayers and meditations if you are unfamiliar with the ritual.

Kiss the crucifix on the rosary and make the Sign of the Cross--touch your forehead, breast, left shoulder and right shoulder.

State the Apostles' Creed, represented by the bead following the crucifix.

Say three Hail Mary prayers, represented by the three smaller beads following the "Apostles' Creed" bead.

Say a Glory Be prayer, then an Eternal Rest prayer in place of the usual Fatima prayer. Announce the first Glorious Mystery--in this case, Christ's Resurrection--and say another Our Father prayer. The bead after the three Hail Mary beads represents these prayers. This bead is typically larger than most beads in the rosary.

Say a Hail Mary for each of the 10 beads following the large bead. Meditate on Christ's Resurrection while saying the prayers.

Repeat the Glory Be and Eternal Rest prayer recited on the last large bead. Announce the second Glorious Mystery--Christ's Ascension--and say an Our Father prayer.

Repeat 10 Hail Mary prayers while meditating on this mystery.

State the Glory Be and Eternal Rest prayers again, then announce the third mystery: the Pentecost. Follow with an Our Father prayer.

Repeat 10 Hail Mary prayers as you meditate on the Pentecost.

Say another Glory Be and Eternal Rest prayer, and announce the fourth mystery: the Assumption. Say another Our Father prayer.

Say 10 Hail Marys while meditating on the Assumption.

Recite Glory Be and Eternal Rest, and announce the fifth and last mystery--the Crowning of Mary--followed by an Our Father.

Say 10 Hail Marys while meditating on the Crowning of Mary.

Recite Glory Be, Eternal Rest and Our Father once more. End with a Sign of the Cross.


When led by a priest, the priest typically prays the first half of each prayer, and the group prays the second half.

Things You'll Need

  • Rosary beads
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About the Author

Christina Sloane has been writing since 1992. Her work has appeared in several national literary magazines.