Ministerial Rosary Reflections for Priests


Cathedral of the Assumption (Carlow, Ireland) stained glass window of
St. Dominic Receiving the Rosary from the Virgin Mary

The Church regards the month of October as the rosary month, a practice encouraged by many pontiffs, most especially Pope Leo XIII. Many of our parishioners will dedicate themselves to praying the rosary this month. Some will do so at their own prompting, knowing of October’s dedication, but hopefully others will do so by our own recommendation through bulletin articles and preaching. Perhaps, your parish might even consider praying the rosary that month before or after Mass.

As a priest, we should join our parishioners in the recitation of the rosary, either through public recitation, or by uniting with them privately through our own personal recitation of the rosary. The Church has always encouraged her priests to foster a devotion to Mary, for she provides the motherly and feminine embrace a celibate needs in his life.

In my own prayerful reflection of the rosary mysteries during my first fifteen months of priesthood, I have found that I can use the rosary to pray for specific people. The rosary serves as a way for us to pray intentionally for our parishioners, and those whom we ministered to in the past years, and additionally, our brother priests. The following rosary meditations will guide us as priests to reflect on our ministerial experiences within the context of the rosary mysteries.

Joyful Mysteries

1. Annunciation

Mary receives her calling to a very special vocation, to be the mother of God. When we were seminarians, and now as we are priests, we have shared our vocation story many times. In this mystery, consider the moment when you heard the call to the priesthood. What was your annunciation moment?

2. Visitation

When Mary goes in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, she reveals herself to be a woman of charity. While not wishing to suggest pregnancy to be a sickness, given Elizabeth’s advanced age, certainly she experienced ill effects of her miraculous pregnancy in spite of her infertility. Pray for those you visited in the past week/month/year who are hospitalized or confined to nursing homes.

3. Nativity of Our Lord

Mary and Joseph became the parents of the incarnate son of God, forming the Holy Family. What a gift to think of all the families we minister to in our parish. Pray that all the families you serve may take seriously the call to become a holy family themselves. Think also of the younger families, those waiting to give birth to their first child, or their second, third, etc. Also, do not forget about those who struggle to conceive. As we recall Jesus’ birth into a human family, we pray for all families, for expectant parents, and those struggling with infertility.

4. Presentation of Jesus

Over your many years of priesthood, think of all the parents who have presented their children for Baptism. Like Mary and Joseph, these parents brought their child to God’s sanctuary. Maybe you journeyed with them through baptismal prep, or simply served as the priest who baptized their child. In this mystery, we thank God for the opportunity to baptize, allowing them to become adopted children of God. Pray for those you have baptized, especially for their spiritual well-being. Ask God to re-ignite the flame of faith in the hearts of those who lapsed in practicing their faith.

5. Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Mary and Joseph searched for the lost Christ child, and eventually find Him in the Church. In our parishes, there are many who are lost and searching. A lot of our Confirmation students get confirmed and, subsequently, end their regular practice of faith. Both high schoolers and college students have gone astray. Let us pray that they will soon find the Lord, and once again we may find them in the Lord’s sanctuary, the Church.

Luminous Mysteries

1. Baptism of the Lord

John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, thus inaugurating His public ministry. The Easter Vigil provides a highlight for priests, the ability to receive people into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, either through baptism or a profession of faith. In this mystery, we offer to Jesus those whom we have walked with through the RCIA process, for catechumens, and for those who received Confirmation at our hand.

2. Wedding Feast at Cana

Jesus elevates marriage to a sacrament by His presence at the wedding in Cana. Over the years, first as a deacon, then as a priest, you have had the opportunity to witness the marriages of many couples. As we reflect on the Wedding Feast, call to mind those couples whose wedding you celebrated—those of family members, friends, and parishioners. In your years of ministry, maybe couples have come to you for marital counseling, pray also for them, and remember any couples you know who are going through a rough time. Through the intercession of Mary, the Attentive Virgin, may all couples enjoy wedded bliss.

3. Proclamation of the Kingdom

Jesus proclaimed the kingdom in His preaching, especially during the Sermon on the Mount. In His preaching, Jesus called people to repentance for the kingdom of God was near at hand. As ministers, we, too, are called to proclaim the Kingdom. We take our cue from Jesus, knowing His boldness in proclaiming the truth. While meditating on Jesus’ preaching, specifically ask for the grace to have greater fervor when preaching.

4. Transfiguration

Jesus took the principal apostles—Peter, James, and John—up Mount Tabor, and there He chose to manifest His glory in their sight. Jesus chose these three disciples to be a part of special moments in His ministry. In the current age of the Church, much focus is given to forming disciples. Pray for the core group of disciples you are forming. These are the principal leaders of your parish—pastoral council president, finance council president, etc. Your disciples might be staff members. Ask God to grant them the grace of total transformation of their heart.

5. Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Jesus bestowed on the Church the great gift of the Eucharist on the night of the Last Supper. To this very day, we, as priests, continue to fulfill His mandate to “do this in memory of me.” Over the course of your priesthood, consider the gift of celebrating the Holy Mass. In this day and age, with the current priest shortage, you probably celebrate many Masses each weekend and, perhaps, even each day. Ask the Lord to allow you to have the same awe of celebrating the Mass as you did on the day of your priestly ordination, and subsequent Mass of Thanksgiving. Offer a prayer of gratitude for the many Masses you have celebrated which have advanced the peace and salvation of the world. Also offer a prayer of reparation for any sacrileges that occur throughout the world in regard to the Eucharist.

Sorrowful Mysteries

1. The Agony in the Garden

Jesus gives us the example of prayer as He offers His High Priestly prayer. Jesus enters into deep communion with His Abba that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Lord encourages His disciples to keep watch with Him for one hour. Examine your prayer life: Do I give the Lord an hour each day in prayer? In this mystery, pray especially for any brother priests who have fallen away from prayer, be it the breviary, or personal prayer. Through the powerful intercession of Mary, may our brothers experience a revival in their prayer, and realize their complete and utter dependence on God.

2. The Scourging at the Pillar

Unfortunately, in our secular age, some of our brother priests have been reviled and mocked by members of society. A year or so ago, one priest was spat upon while walking down the street in New York. A bishop in Belgium was assaulted by people of ill repute. In the wake of the sex abuse scandal, people make inappropriate suggestions and generalizations about all priests. In our own scourging, we identify with Jesus at the pillar. Pray for your persecutors, do good to those who hate you. Pray that all priests, including yourself, might be able to withstand the taunts of society.

3. The Crowning with Thorns

In addition to the mocking in public places, some of our brothers undergo persecution. In the Middle East, some have been kidnapped, and are still in captivity. Others have been murdered at the hands of ISIS (Fr. Jacques Hamel). They have received their crown of thorns, and in martyrdom, a martyr’s crown. In this mystery, we recall to mind all priests who currently are suffering for the sake of the gospel, for their perseverance and endurance, and for ourselves, that if we are ever put to the test, we, too, may remain faithful to the Gospel.

4. The Carrying of the Cross

Jesus encourages us to take up our cross, and follow after Him. There are many crosses priests carry: depression, loneliness, familial wounds, failures, sins, addictions, etc. Each priest carries a different cross. Sometimes, our crosses become too heavy to bear. We fall down, and need someone to help us back up: a friend, a priest support group, a co-worker, etc. Who is your Simon of Cyrene, your Veronica? Give thanks for them. Ask the Lord to give you strength to carry your cross, and to send a Simon or Veronica to a brother who may be experiencing much difficulty right now.

5. The Crucifixion

After a life of faithful service, many years dedicated to the priesthood, our senior priests approach their deaths. Just as they journeyed with so many to Heaven’s door, now they prepare for their own encounter with the Risen Lord. Give thanks for the example and witness of those priests who served before us, and ask Mary to pray for them now as they approach their last hour. After all, this is the great promise of Mary, to pray for us now, and at the hour of death. Offer a prayer for those who are suffering at the end of their life, and for those who are on their journey to the Lord.

Glorious Mysteries

1. The Resurrection

Jesus conquers death by His resurrection from the dead. We have celebrated many funeral liturgies. The resurrection provides hope for all who have died in the Lord. For me, I have always found the funeral ritual to be one of the most beautiful, especially the incensation of the casket. In this mystery, we recall those whose funerals we have celebrated. We ask God to grant the bereaved the gift of consolation, and to the deceased, eternal rest.

2. The Ascension

As priests, it is important to remember the priests from our diocese who have preceded us in death. A good daily practice would be to look at the Ordo provided for your provincial region, and see if any priests died on that particular day. What a gift to remember them in prayer. During the Ascension, Jesus ascends in the sight of His apostles, the first priests. In this mystery, we ask God to grant eternal rest to our brother priests, that they may now have the reward of their labors.

3. Pentecost

On the fiftieth day following Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in the Upper Room. By reflecting on this mystery, we entrust our Confirmation students to the maternal intercession of Mary, that their hearts will be prepared to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on their Confirmation day. In this mystery, we can also pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our parish, and for a unity of prayer among our members. The Holy Spirit unites the early Church; may the Spirit provide unity in the Church today.

4. The Assumption

Where Jesus has gone, we hope to follow. Jesus desired to have His mother share in eternal glory, body and soul, so He assumes her into heavenly glory. Mary, a creature, enjoys eternal blessedness with God. We, too, hope to inherit eternal life. The sinless Virgin Mary provides an example to us, as we strive to overcome the sins of our life. In this mystery, we pray for the grace of a holy death and to die in a state of grace.

5. The Coronation of Mary

Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. As she revealed in 1859 to the Belgian immigrant Adele Brise, she is the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners. In Heaven, the Queen Mother intercedes for us, and prays for our conversion. We also call on Mary as the Queen of the Clergy. Let us pray that all priests will be devoted to their Queen, and foster a greater devotion to Mary. May they know her maternal protection, especially in times of trial and temptation. And as we draw closer to Mary, may the people we serve deepen their relationship to our Heavenly Mother.


In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort said that some people struggle with praying the rosary because they do not have purity of intention. Wittingly, he notes that some people pray the rosary with the sole intention of getting over with it. He encourages the intentional offering of each decade for a specific intention. For the Annunciation, he writes, “We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this first decade in honor of Thy Incarnation, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery, and through the intercession of Thy Most Holy Mother, a profound humility.” In a similar fashion, the rosary meditations presented above, allow us to intentionally offer the rosary for specific people in our lives. In this way, each decade takes on greater meaning on account of remembering the people we minister to, and our brother priests. During the month of the holy rosary, do not miss the opportunity to pray the rosary with your people, and also, in your private devotional life, to pray for the people we serve.

Rev. Edward Lee Looney, STB, MDiv About Rev. Edward Lee Looney, STB, MDiv

Fr. Edward Looney was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin on June 6, 2015. A member of the Mariological Society of America, Fr. Looney publishes regularly on Marian topics, including the approved 1859 Wisconsin apparition. His latest devotional book is A Rosary Litany. To learn more, visit or his personal website You can also follow Fr. Edward on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Soundcloud.