A young girl holds up a wooden rosary and smiles.
In the Dominican Republic, young Brenda gathers with children from her village and eagerly awaits the distribution of Box of Joy gifts. After leading the children in prayer, she received her gift with a smile and held up the rosary included in the box for everyone to see.

How to Pray the Decade Rosary

The rosary is a scriptural prayer focused on Christ that has long been cherished within the Catholic Church and, in today’s hectic world, is needed more than ever.

If you are too busy to pray an entire rosary, which consists of five decades of Hail Marys (a decade means a group of ten), a ‘decade rosary’ is a more recent and simple way to enter into this time-honored devotion. You pray one decade now with the hope of doing the other decades later, as time allows. What a beautiful way to invite the Gospel into your day, by saying with the angel Gabriel, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). The second part of the prayer gives voice to Elizabeth, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42). But how do we pray the decade rosary?

What Is a Decade of the Rosary?

To pray a decade of the rosary is to pray one Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and one Glory Be while meditating on one of the 20 mysteries of the rosary. A typical rosary is comprised of 50 Hail Mary beads in groups of 10, each group meant to be spent reflecting on a different mystery of Jesus’ life. These mysteries are as follows:

  • The Joyful Mysteries are usually prayed on Mondays and Saturdays or during the Advent season. These mysteries are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus and the Finding of Jesus at the Temple. Each reflects the Incarnation, the moment God became man, making himself recognizable to us and uniting himself to our humanity.
  • The Luminous Mysteries were instituted by Saint John Paul II during his papacy and are usually prayed on Thursday. These mysteries are the Baptism of Jesus, the Wedding at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist. Each represents a beam of light and reveals aspects of Jesus’ mission and divine origin.
  • The Sorrowful Mysteries are usually prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays or during the season of Lent. These mysteries are the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning of Thorns, Jesus Carries His Cross and the Crucifixion. Each reflects the Passion of Christ.
  • The Glorious Mysteries are usually prayed on Sundays and Wednesdays or during the Easter season. These mysteries are the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Holy Spirit Comes Upon Mary and the Apostles, the Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Each reminds the faithful of Christ’s resurrection and the glories of Heaven.

To pray the decade rosary, choose one of the above 20 mysteries to reflect on and begin with the Apostle’s Creed, followed by a typical decade (one Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and one Glory Be). These rosaries are typically a smaller string of 10 beads, easy to carry with you and to pray at any time of the day. Praying one decade of the rosary can be a transformative spiritual experience.

The Rosary Out in the World

When we pray the rosary, we are able to join Catholic men, women and children around the globe in a profound meditation on Christ through Mary. Throughout the centuries, many have been encouraged by this simple devotion of repetitive prayers that bring a sense of peace and hope, and that is why Cross Catholic Outreach shares the rosary with the poor whenever we are able.

We are particularly thrilled when we have an opportunity to share the rosary with children, and we use our Box of Joy® program to achieve that blessed goal. Children who receive a Box of Joy gift from generous friends like you find inside, toys, clothing, school supplies, and other essential items.  Enclosed in each box is a rosary with instructions on how to say it in English and in Spanish. Additionally, The Story of Jesus, a coloring booklet, is added before each box is shipped.

Whether you pray the decade rosary or a full rosary, we hope you keep in mind the children learning how to pray these powerful words from scripture, and that you are edified as you reflect on the Gospel and seek Our Lady’s intercession.


Box of Joy is a registered trademark of Cross Catholic Outreach.