Simple steps with the Rosary bring serious spirituality

October 25, 2022

When’s the last time you picked up a Rosary and prayed with it? These last few weeks of October and the time before Advent offer a special time to embrace praying the Rosary. (Photo by James Ramos/Herald)

HOUSTON — With October being a month dedicated to the Mother of God and the Rosary, these last few weeks before Advent offer a special opportunity to spend some time with the Blessed Mother.

The idea of praying the Rosary might be daunting for some, but Father Lawrence Lew, OP, the general promoter of the Rosary for the Dominican Order, said it doesn’t have to be.

In Houston for Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Midtown’s celebration of the Oct. 7 feast of the Holy Rosary, Father Lew shared a handful of tips to keep the Rosary close at hand.

“Begin praying the Rosary slowly,” Father Lew said. “If you’ve found it [lacking], slowly begin with one decade a day.”

For those moments during the Rosary, or at any time when at prayer, when the mind begins to wander or get distracted, Father Lew suggested having something to place our focus on, like sacred art. The image might feature a mystery of the Rosary or a favorite picture of Our Lady with Jesus or a statue of the Blessed Mother, or even a cross. Having something to keep the focus on will help keep attention to prayer, he said.

Father Lew, who is the rector of the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in London and also a prolific photographer, recently published a book with Ignatius Press called “Mysteries Made Visible: Praying the Rosary with Sacred Art,” which features his own photographs.

He traveled to the U.S. for the Rosary celebration at Holy Rosary and preached during a weekend Mass at the invitation of Father Peter Damian Harris, OP, pastor of Holy Rosary.

Filling the spare moments

After beginning with a decade a day, continue to gradually increase the number of decades prayed each day, praying one decade at a time, spreading each throughout the day, he said.

For example, consider praying one decade in the morning when getting ready for the day. Then, if time is usually spent scrolling social media or watching the news on TV or listening to the radio, pay attention and find things to pray about from what you observe on social media or on the news, he said.

Prayer intentions can come directly from friends or even our social media feeds, he suggested.

Then as the day continues, keep the Rosary close at hand or use your fingers to keep count. Father Lew said the moments in between that fill our day can be a special time for grace and prayer, such as while waiting at a stop light on the drive to work, the bus or even the elevator, then suddenly we might find that we’ve said four decades.

“It’s very doable if we are conscious to not waste time, but rather use time well and to fill the spare moments,” he said. “Jesus has given us this lifetime and only this lifetime in which we can learn to love Him better.”

And the Rosary does exactly that; it teaches us to love God better, he said.

“By praying the Rosary, we are doing this because Mary asks us to and because we hope that this will bring us closer to Jesus. That’s already an act of love. It’s an act of trust,” he said. “We are not doing it because it makes us feel good, just as listening to our favorite pop song might make us feel good. But we do it because we love Mary.”

In his role as general promoter of the Rosary, he actively advocates and preaches the Rosary within the Dominican Order and encourages his fellow Dominicans to preach the Rosary, which he said is part of the sacred heritage of the Order.

“According to tradition, Our Lady gave the Rosary to St. Dominic and entrusted the order with that job of preaching the Rosary,” Father Lew said.

Appointed to the role in October of 2019, Father Lew replaced a familiar face to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston: Father Christopher Eggleton, OP, who was the pastor at Holy Rosary in Houston, was previously the promoter of the Rosary for the Dominicans.

‘Greatness’ in the rosary

Father Lew drew a comparison to how a doctor would prescribe a new medicine to a patient. The effects aren’t typically immediate; rather, you trust that the doctor’s prescription will help in some way.

“That’s Mary’s prescription to us. Begin by praying the Rosary slowly because we trust in Mary, and we know that she’s our mother,” he said. “She’s been given to us by Our Lord Jesus to be our mother, and she loves us. That’s why I pray the Rosary, and I encourage everyone to begin that way.”

The Rosary should “stir up and deepen our love for God. That’s the goal of prayer,” he said. “In a sense, it’s pointless to pray the Rosary by rote in a way where it’s just ratcheting off words. It’s very, very clear in the Dominican tradition and Dominican teaching that the Rosary must be prayed as a meditation. It’s better to pray one decade at a time, to pray that decade well rather than try to rush through all five decades in 20 minutes.”

If we find ourselves praying the Rosary as a habit more than a meditation, we shouldn’t feel guilty, he said.

“We’re human, and human beings get distracted in prayer,” Father Lew said. “But as long as we set our intention and begin to pray and our motivation is out of love for God and we’re still distracted, our prayer doesn’t lose its merit.”

Father Lew emphasized that the Rosary is for everyone, no matter our stage in life, young or older. The Blessed Mother reached out, especially to young people, such as in her apparitions in Fatima and Lourdes, where she appeared to children and to a young teenager.

The Blessed Mother “knows what young people are capable of, and she knows what they want, which is that they should be able to rise to the challenge of the day and change the world,” he said. The young people she appeared to were capable of “greatness through the Rosary.” †

Father Lew's Five Tips to Praying the Rosary

1. Pray with sacred art
Art can help focus a wandering mind, and can help meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary and on the stories of Jesus.

2 Designate a time and place
Pray the Rosary at home, in your car, in line at the store or in your spare time.

3. Pray while traveling
Prayer can be a great witness and can surround others in prayer in a quiet and subtle way.

4. Spread it throughout the day
Don’t do too much, too soon. Spread the decades throughout the day, praying one decade intentionally is better than rushing through five decades like a machine.

5. Pray-n-scroll on social media
Give your scrolling an intention and find things to pray for, then stop and pray a decade of the Rosary for what you saw on social media.

For a guide on how to pray the Rosary, visit