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The popular name given to each of the five divisions into which each chaplet of the Rosary is subdivided. It is called a decade because each contains ten Hail Marys, together with an Our Father and, normally, a Glory be to the Father. Since each decade is a unit by itself, having its own mystery to commemorate, it may be said individually, even when the whole chaplet is not recited. In order to gain the Rosary indulgence, however, all five decades must be recited in sequence.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.