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  #1  
Old Jul 31, '10, 7:03 am
Annemariels Annemariels is offline
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Default Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Does anyone know why there are 5 decades in the rosary?

Also,do you know the history behind the amount of Hail Marys and Our Fathers we pray in the rosary?

My 3rd grade summer CCD class stumped me with those questions yesterday. humph.
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  #2  
Old Jul 31, '10, 7:20 am
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Well, a complete Rosary traditionally is actually 15 decades total.

It covers 15 mysteries (5 Joyful, 5 Sorrowful, 5 Glorious), with one decade to each mystery. That adds up to 150 Hail Marys overall.

150 Hail Marys = 150 Psalms. This is because laypeople wanted to imitate the practice of praying the 150 Psalms as priests, monks and nuns did. Being they were mostly illiterate, a lot of them were unable to actually recite the Psalms. Instead they came up with the idea of substituting either 1 Our Father or 1 Hail Mary for each Psalm. After a time it became fixed as 150 Hail Marys.

Why the decades? Well, for one it's convenient - you can count a decade easily on your fingers if you don't have a set of rosary beads handy.

Why do rosary beads traditionally contain 5 decades? Well, there are 15-decade sets of beads available (even 20-decade sets in modern times, since JP2 introduced the Luminous Mysteries). Have you ever seen one? They're very long and pretty cumbersome to carry around.

So, being as the 15 (later 20) mysteries are grouped into groups of 5 mysteries anyway, and a 5-decade Rosary is a good size to carry around, that became the standard.
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  #3  
Old Jul 31, '10, 9:10 am
Stjudeprayforus Stjudeprayforus is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
Well, a complete Rosary traditionally is actually 15 decades total.

It covers 15 mysteries (5 Joyful, 5 Sorrowful, 5 Glorious), with one decade to each mystery. That adds up to 150 Hail Marys overall.

150 Hail Marys = 150 Psalms. This is because laypeople wanted to imitate the practice of praying the 150 Psalms as priests, monks and nuns did. Being they were mostly illiterate, a lot of them were unable to actually recite the Psalms. Instead they came up with the idea of substituting either 1 Our Father or 1 Hail Mary for each Psalm. After a time it became fixed as 150 Hail Marys.

Why the decades? Well, for one it's convenient - you can count a decade easily on your fingers if you don't have a set of rosary beads handy.

Why do rosary beads traditionally contain 5 decades? Well, there are 15-decade sets of beads available (even 20-decade sets in modern times, since JP2 introduced the Luminous Mysteries). Have you ever seen one? They're very long and pretty cumbersome to carry around.

So, being as the 15 (later 20) mysteries are grouped into groups of 5 mysteries anyway, and a 5-decade Rosary is a good size to carry around, that became the standard.
Wow... I didnt know 150 Hail Mary's = 150 Psalms.
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  #4  
Old Jul 31, '10, 9:32 am
Annemariels Annemariels is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Wow - I never would have guessed that they represented 150 psalms. That is soooo interesting - thanks for sharing!

Anne Marie

Last edited by Annemariels; Jul 31, '10 at 9:33 am. Reason: wanted to change the first sentence
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  #5  
Old Jul 31, '10, 10:40 am
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Zooey Zooey is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

I have actually made a few 15 (&20) decade rosaries. About half way though, I decided that rosary makers may have come up with the 5 decade rosary, to save all that counting & checking to be sure there weren't 11 (or 14!! I have done 14......) beads instead of 10!!
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  #6  
Old Jul 31, '10, 10:45 am
bethndanny bethndanny is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap080600.htm

There is a link with some great information on the development of the rosary. It also explains how monks and clergy used to pray the 150 Psalms and the laity were unable to read or memorize the lengthy Psalms and began praying 150 Our Fathers. It continues on from there explaining how we came to today's rosary.
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  #7  
Old Aug 2, '10, 11:42 am
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DawnInTexas DawnInTexas is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

The Hail Mary used to be shorter-quoted out of the Bible:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee.
-(Angel Gabriel's salutation at the Incarnation)
Blessed are you among women, and Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb, Jesus.
-(Elizabeth's Greeting at the Visitation)

(Or the old English Thees and Thous-don't get technical on me, Folks).

The 2nd part was added later:

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our Death.
Amen.


http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07110b.htm


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The Rosary:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm
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  #8  
Old Aug 2, '10, 11:52 am
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethndanny View Post
http://www.catholicapologetics.org/ap080600.htm

There is a link with some great information on the development of the rosary. It also explains how monks and clergy used to pray the 150 Psalms and the laity were unable to read or memorize the lengthy Psalms and began praying 150 Our Fathers. It continues on from there explaining how we came to today's rosary.
Actually, clergy and religious continue to pray the 150 Psalms in what's called the Liturgy of the Hours. Most clergy will pray the 150 Psalsm over a 4 week period, but most monks will pray the entire 150 over a 1 week period.
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  #9  
Old Aug 2, '10, 11:54 am
catmom3 catmom3 is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
Well, there are 15-decade sets of beads available...Have you ever seen one? They're very long and pretty cumbersome to carry around.
That explains the rosaries the nuns used to wear at their waists. I never thought of them having more beads, I just thought they were huge beads.
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  #10  
Old Aug 2, '10, 11:55 am
Ann1231 Ann1231 is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by curlycool89 View Post
Actually, clergy and religious continue to pray the 150 Psalms in what's called the Liturgy of the Hours. Most clergy will pray the 150 Psalsm over a 4 week period, but most monks will pray the entire 150 over a 1 week period.
is there a url to the 150 Psalms that I could easily find and print out?
thanks!!
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  #11  
Old Aug 2, '10, 5:58 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann1231 View Post
is there a url to the 150 Psalms that I could easily find and print out?
thanks!!
These Psalms are from the RSV-CE. The Liturgy of the Hours uses the NAB in the U.S. The site I note is under construction; so may not be complete.

Universalis uses the New Jerusalem Bible because of copyright issues.
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  #12  
Old Aug 2, '10, 6:09 pm
Ann1231 Ann1231 is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kelley View Post
These Psalms are from the RSV-CE. The Liturgy of the Hours uses the NAB in the U.S. The site I note is under construction; so may not be complete.

Universalis uses the New Jerusalem Bible because of copyright issues.
thank you Joe! The first link is exactly what I was looking for. All the sites I'd found were incomplete.
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  #13  
Old Aug 3, '10, 5:17 pm
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curlycool89 curlycool89 is offline
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Default Re: Why are there 5 decades of the rosary?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kelley View Post
These Psalms are from the RSV-CE. The Liturgy of the Hours uses the NAB in the U.S. The site I note is under construction; so may not be complete.

Universalis uses the New Jerusalem Bible because of copyright issues.
Actually, the Liturgy of the Hours in the US/Canada uses the Grail Psalms. Universalis uses their own translation for the Psalms on their website (if you buy it you get the Grail Psalms). For the rest of the LOTH, the official version uses the NAB and Universalis uses the Jerusalem Bible.
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