By Colleen Pressprich
October is the month of the Rosary, and as such, it’s a great time of year to explore the ways that you can pray the rosary as a family.
Praying an entire rosary as a family can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially if you have young children. You can build confidence (and endurance) by taking it one step at a time. I think we’ve all had experiences where we’ve bit off more than we could chew and ended up walking away from a goal simply because we tried to do too much too soon.
When my children were very young, we began just by teaching them the cornerstone prayers of the rosary. Beginning with the Our Father, then the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, and then the O My Jesus, we started saying them each at bedtime. By focusing on one prayer at a time and only adding another when the kids had it memorized, we gave them a strong prayer foundation to build upon.
Once your kids have the prayers memorized, you can start by praying a single decade. As the kids get older and their attention span lengthens, you’ll be able to increase the decades.
Tell the story.
The brilliance of the rosary (at least to me) is that the rote prayers allow the mind to wander and consider the wonderful stories that we call the mysteries of the rosary. But in order for our minds to contemplate, we must first know the mysteries. Take time and tell your children the stories of each of the mysteries. With four sets of five, you can do one story a day and finish in a month (with a few days of wiggle room in case life happens!). (Let's Learn about the Rosary can be a great resource for helping you tell that story!)
Engage with the mysteries and let them spark conversation.
Many of the mysteries of the rosary are found in Scripture, and as the Living Word of God, they have messages for us today. Take some time with your kids either before or after praying the decade to ask them what struck their heart about the mystery you were pondering. Share with them too about what stood out to you!
Take advantage of opportune moments.
If the idea of setting a scheduled time for a rosary feels too overwhelming, take advantage of moments when they come: The car ride when everyone is together? That family walk? While you’re all raking leaves? These can be perfect times to pray and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Choose intercessions close to the heart.
I know I am more likely to pray when I am invested in the intention of the prayer. Pray for loved ones in need. Encourage your kids to bring prayer intentions to the family. Stop and say some prayers for the person you passed on the side of the street or the souls buried in the cemetery you drove by. This teaches kids both that the rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon and that they have the power to wield it when they see a need.
As we move through the month of October, may Our Lady of the Rosary always keep you safe under her mantle!