Hymns for the Rosary, and for October devotions

This is a selection of hymns and songs for use at the Rosary, or when promoting the traditional October devotion to the Rosary.

About the rosary

The rosary is a Christ-centered meditation which prayerfully remembers the major events in Christ's life, from His conception (annunciation) through to His death and resurrection. 

The meditation about each event is carried out while recitinga decade of the rosary.   A decade is made up of:
  • An introduction - at least the name of the event / mystery being meditated on
  • The Our Father 
  • The Hail Mary, repeated ten times, and 
  • The Glory be to the Father

Some people include some extra prayers said at the start and/or end of each mystery, and possibly each decade also.   These may include a long or short reflection about the mystery (ie event) being considered.

The meditation topics are grouped into mysteries:
  • There are five events in each mystery
  • Typically one one mystery is the focus on any one recitation of the rosary.

Mary and the rosary

Roman Catholic spirituality adores equally Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and is devoted to Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and prayers like the rosary which is a summary of the whole Gospel, express this devotion Mary, and show how it strengthens the adoration of God.  John Paul II said in Rosarium Virginis Mariae (2002) that
"the Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer". [It is] "a compendium of the Gospel" in which we are "praying to Christ with Mary".
This is why the rosary is traditionally associated with Marian hymns, even though it is very specifically a meditation on Christ' life.

Suggested music for the rosary

There is no music or singing that is required when the rosary is prayed.

But many people choose to sing a hymn at the start or end of the prayer.    Some also include a hymn or instrumental music during the introduction to each decade, and some people even sing the prayer instead of saying them.

Suitable hymns are ones based on either the day's mysteries, or on intercession through Mary:
To find suggested hymns for each of the mysteries, look at the hymn suggestions for days on which the event is the main focus in the readings.   Links to these are provided below.    (There are some mysteries where this does not work so well - eg Christ's birth.   Separate suggestions for these will be provided if possible.)

Hymn suggestions for the Joyful Mysteries

Usually prayed on Mondays and Saturdays, and during Christmas and Advent Seasons.
  1. The annunciation of Christ’s forth-coming birth - Hymns for the feast of the Annunciation
  2. Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth; mother of St John - Hymns for the feast of the Visitation
  3. Christ’s birth
  4. The presentation in the temple - Hymns for the feast of the Presentation
  5. Jesus teaching in the temple - Hymns for the feast of the Holy Family, Year C

Hymn suggestions for the Sorrowful Mysteries

Usually prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays, and during Lent.
  • The agony of the garden,
  • The scourging of Jesus,
  • The crowning with thorns,
  • Jesus carrying of the cross
  • Jesus crucifixion.
See Hymns for Good Friday and Hymns for Lent for suggestions.

Hymn suggestions for the Glorious Mysteries

Usually prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays, and after Easter

Hymn suggestions for the Luminous Mysteries / Mysteries of the light

Usually prayed on on Thursdays.

See also

  • The Music for Liturgy website has a set of hymn-texts with one verse for each mystery, set to well-known hymn-tunes (the same tune for each set of mysteries).
  • Various recordings of the rosary have been produced and are sold on CD, eg this one by Dana and Fr Kevin Scallon.  These can be particularly helpful for people who have to pray alone, due to sickness or isolation / quarantine. 


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