Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Family Rosary

"There is no surer means of calling down God's blessings upon the family... than the daily recitation of the Rosary." 
- Pope Pius XII

I learned to pray the Rosary as a very young child, and I still have the beautiful blue crystal Rosary that I received as a gift from my parents when I made my First Communion.  Most of our family Rosaries were prayed in the car.  My father was an Air Force officer, so we moved and traveled frequently.  My four sisters and I took turns leading the prayers, and most likely fought over who got to go first.  At the time, I didn't understand meditation and probably had only a vague comprehension of the Rosary mysteries, but our family prayer was comforting.  I knew we were safe in the arms of the Blessed Mother.

Years later, when I left home to enter the Air Force Academy, I missed my family very much.  During the long marches in Basic Training, I silently prayed the Rosary, comforted by the happy memories of praying and traveling with my family.

I have taught my own children to pray the Rosary, and I was amazed at how quickly they were able to memorize the prayers.  We pray a decade every night before bed, and we take turns leading the prayers. (We occasionally pray a full Rosary together, but right now I'm focusing on teaching the mysteries and establishing a daily habit.)  The leader also gets to choose an intention for our decade.  I'm often touched by the thoughtful prayer requests my children make, asking for protection for the soldiers fighting for our country or for the friend who was hurt during recess at school.

My children do not yet grasp the concept of meditation, but we talk about the meaning of the mysteries.  I might show them beautiful works of art depicting the mysteries or read aloud from the Bible to clarify.  As they grow older, I hope and pray that they continue this important devotion.

"As a prayer for peace, the Rosary is also, and always has been, a prayer of and for the family. At one time this prayer was particularly dear to Christian families, and it certainly brought them closer together. It is important not to lose this precious inheritance. We need to return to the practice of family prayer and prayer for families ..."
 –Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Rosary of the Virgin Mary

If you live alone or if your family members are not Catholic, then contact your parish. Many parishes pray the Rosary as a group. If not, consider starting a Rosary prayer group. Put a notice in the parish bulletin or website, or simply gather a group of friends at a specific time and location to pray the Rosary.

Although I don't own the CD pictured on this blog entry, it looks lovely.  You can learn more about it and other Rosary media at the Quiet Waters website.  If you'd like to listen to a sample of their Family Rosary, you can listen online at The Station of the Cross online radio at 7 p.m. EST.  (Lots of other great content on this station!)

Here's an EXCELLENT article on helping children learn to pray the Rosary at Catholic Culture.

This Scriptural Rosary for Children is beautiful, but please use it online or print out a copy for private use only.  They have a very strict copyright policy, and rightly so.

Crafty children will enjoy this Rosary Faith Folder or perhaps a Holy Rosary Faith Ring

Holy Cross Family Ministries has a lot of information on the Family Rosary and family prayer, in general

More good advice at and Catholic Exchange,

In closing, I'd like to say Happy Feast Day to my Confirmation patron, St. Catherine of Siena.

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