Kimberly Overmyer, Director of Faith Formation at St. Alphonsus Liguori, shares how a family can begin the steps toward praying the rosary together while making it fun for all ages.
By Kimberly Overmyer
Have you ever wanted your family to pray the rosary together – especially in the Marian months of May and October – but thought it might be too difficult or the children are not quite old enough? In the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II, “Be not afraid!”
If some family members are young or inexperienced with the rosary, start small! Teach them the Our Father and practice it at bedtime or during other family prayer time. Next, teach them the Hail Mary and practice it at bedtime, during a storm, or other nervous moments. The Hail Mary can bring comfort in any time of need.
Help create the habit of “leaning on” prayer. Once these prayers are learned, start by saying one decade of a rosary (Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and a Glory Be). This is great before bedtime or as a an activity when traveling in the car. Plug into prayer rather than the DVD player!
As attention and confidence grows, a whole rosary of five decades can be prayed together as a family. Ask a different family member to lead each decade to help keep everyone focused and participating!
The mysteries of the rosary tell the life story of Jesus and Mary. Starting with the Joyful mysteries, followed by the Luminous mysteries, progressing to the Sorrowful mysteries, and concluding with the Glorious mysteries, we see in chronological order many important events in our Lord’s time with us on earth. Before praying the decade of the rosary, show a picture that depicts what the mystery is of and talk about it.
“Big” brothers and sisters understand the Annunciation when they can connect it to the time you told them about their baby brother or sister coming. Children can connect to the scourging at the pillar when they fall down and scrape a knee. Connecting our life events to those of Jesus and Mary help bring a better understanding of the Bible's stories while making them come alive!
To get children excited about praying the rosary, allow them to make their own rosary – be creative! Younger children can string pasta or beads while older children can make knot rosaries. If you like a more traditional look to the rosary, allow your child to pick out their own rosary for family prayer time. Remember, it’s the time spent together as a family and in prayer with our Lord that is most important.
Invest in your family’s spiritual growth one prayer, one decade or one rosary at a time! Mary of Perpetual Help, pray for us!