The Latin language is NOT dead! For Catholics, it’s our Mother Tongue. By emphasizing this fact at home, you and your kids can celebrate the upcoming feast days in a very special way: add some Latin to your prayers and devotions. Your children will be inspired by its beauty, mystery, and transcendence in your family prayer life. I think you will be too!
Introduce the idea of adding Latin prayers by sharing with your kids that for every Catholic, anywhere in the world, Latin is his/her special sacred language. It is special and elevated above the ordinary because Latin is really used today only by Catholics, who are speaking of sacred things and praising God with it. It has been the holy language of the Church that the saints have prayed in for hundreds upon hundreds of years. In knowing and using it ourselves, we are connected with those men and women who knew this sacred tongue as the language of prayer all over the world throughout the ages.
Because of the richness, beauty, and sacredness of our Mother Tongue, children are almost always interested in it. And their brains are like sponges: they’ll be able to quickly memorize some Latin songs and prayers. A great one to start with is the Our Father (Pater Noster). Take some time to read it together each night for a few weeks, and most of it will be memorized with very little effort. The pronunciation of Church Latin is very like Spanish, so there is no need to be intimidated!
Of course, it’s easier to memorize words when they are set to music, so the next thing to do is get some CDs of simple Latin hymns to sing with. Two great CDs feature children singing: do an internet search for Gregorian Chant for Kids. This is a great resource because children pay more attention to this music if they hear other children like them singing.
Once your family gets started with Latin, you’ll be hooked. It’s something very special that we Catholics have! And like our own native English language, the learning of our Church’s language can begin at home.
(All written content on this blog is copyright 2013 by the St. Catherine Catholic Culture Center.)