The Blessed Virgin, the Queen of Heaven and earth, has repeatedly asked that Catholics pray the Rosary. At Fatima, she specifically urged that families pray the Holy Rosary together. And so, families wanting to implement a daily Rosary practice for the whole family are indeed doing a noble and holy thing—but also a challenging and perhaps ambitious one! It’s not always easy, and sometimes very hard, to get everyone together to pray. But gentle persistence will lead you on, and there are some ways to make it easier.
Here are some tips to enhance the endeavor– hopefully leading to more praying and meditating, with less dreading, whining and distractions. And remember, the basic principle in all this is: variety. (Even adults can find their attitude toward prayer revivified by a variety of aids!)
- Pray the Rosary together in front of your home altar. Have as many of the family present as possible. Light the candles, freshen the bouquets, and set the time aside as distinctive and special.
- It may help to (quietly!) play hymns and chants in the background. However, English words might be distracting, so Latin chants can ease that difficulty nicely.
- And while the family is driving, everyone just happens to be already sitting still and strapped in, even. During travel is an opportune time to get in at least a few decades of the Rosary.
Little Children (3-8)
- Many children have trouble keeping their bodies still, especially during prayer time. If you have a few of these, you may want to divide up the praying of the Rosary into smaller portions to gradually accustom them to its pace. For example, you could pray the opening prayers and two decades of the daily Rosary in the morning, and then the remaining three decades in the evening. One Rosary takes around twenty minutes, so splitting prayer time into two groups of ten minutes may help your squirmers.
- Also, fidgety little ones may drop their Rosaries and frequently lose count of where they are. “Pull Rosaries” can help with this, delivering a satisfying “click” as children complete each prayer. They are easy to learn to make, and you just need simple supplies (mostly cheap pony beads and cord).
- Rosary coloring pages, such as these, are delightful with many ages of children (and even adults like me). If the children are too little to join in with the prayers, they can sit and color while they listen to the rest of the family pray for them.
Older Children (8+)
- For older children who can read well, you can have each one (and each of the parents) lead a decade of the Rosary, praying each of these decades with meditations “embedded” inside the Hail Marys. I wrote some meditations for this method which you can find here: Joyful Mysteries, Sorrowful Mysteries, Glorious Mysteries. (My husband enjoys the variety of ideas amongst the repetition of the prayers that this old German method affords.)
- Be sure to have a rotating library of images of each of the mysteries for each member of the family to pray with. (Depending on the size of your family, this will probably mean a collection of quite a few pictures.) Public domain fine art images are easily printed from online, which children can make different selections from before they begin praying each day. (The above image, by the way, is one of my favorites. I found it on Wikipedia, a very good source for this project.) Be sure to laminate or contact paper your selections once they have been printed out–they will see lots of good use!
- Correspondingly, many printed books for praying with the Rosary are available, and I especially recommend (without getting any money or sponsorship by doing so) Seton Press’ The Rosary in Art and Ignatius Press/Magnificat’s Splendors of the Rosary. Rotate the books frequently throughout the week between the hands of each person praying. As with the above idea, this will give a pleasing variety to the prayer and beneficial exposure to many worthy and sacred images that will form each child’s heart and aesthetic sensibilities as he prays.
Parents and/or Older Children
- Have at hand a rotating “schedule” of applicable readings from Scripture and the Saints for use with each of the groups of mysteries. Read the paragraph or brief reading between announcing the mystery and beginning the Our Father each time.
- Before beginning the daily Rosary, read parts of St. Louis de Montfort’s Secret of the Rosary aloud. You can find a copy in virtually any Catholic bookstore, and easily order it online. I HIGHLY recommend this book, and I have read it many times.
- Using favorite images and meditations, children can compile Rosary meditation books of their own, either formatting them on the computer or by hand with glue and scissors. They can write their own meditations under the images, use Scripture verses they find fitting, or quotes and thoughts from the saints. Praying with these family-made books will add a beautiful dimension to Rosary prayer time.
I hope these ideas can help you! Really truly make good on your perpetual resolution, and get your family praying the Rosary together daily. It will be so worth it. With God’s grace, and your patience, persistence, and some variety thrown in, your family will experience the treasures of the Rosary and the many beautiful blessings that come through our Holy Mother’s generous hands.