Just Pray It!

My dad recalls with fondness childhood memories of climbing in the car with his family to visit friends…and together they all would recite the rosary. He remembers waking up in the morning and seeing his mother sitting quietly in the dark in her special chair, clutching her beads and mouthing her prayers. He says seeing his parents pray the rosary in his childhood gave him comfort. He believes it spared him from many dangers, and perhaps most importantly that seeing his parents recite it and participating in it himself set an example for him and formed a habit  that he eventually passed on to his own children. Saying the rosary was and is an integral part of his family life.

My sister’s mother-in-law was riding in their car with her husband, praying the rosary as they normally did when they traveled. After the last decade was complete, the man had a heart attack and died. His grief-stricken wife received much consolation knowing that just after the end of their prayers he was called home. She believes it was a special blessing of a happy death for him. Praying the rosary brought peace and comfort to this family upon the father’s early passing.

If a child wants a favor from his father, he will likely approach his gentle-hearted mother first. Timidly he beseeches her and makes his request. He knows that she will be an advocate for him. Likewise, when we pray the rosary, not only are we recalling through the mysteries the major events in Jesus’ life, but also we are approaching the Father through Jesus’ mother. She will be our advocate.

We need to pray the rosary.  The Church-approved messages of Fatima underscore this fact. The Blessed Mother is recorded as saying at Fatima, “Pray the Rosary every day… to obtain peace in the world . . ..” (Our Lady—July 13, 1917)

A practical question remains, however:  How? How do we begin? How will our family react if we saunter in from work some evening and say, “Everyone in the living room. We’re saying the rosary.”? If we haven’t been doing it up to this point, likely the announcement will be met with annoyance, procrastination, perhaps outright protest. If the children are very young, it’s easier. We might buy some colorful rosary books and illustrations from the local Catholic bookstore. After bedtime stories and regular nightly prayers when they are snuggled in, we take out the rosary, show them the appropriate picture for the mystery and begin. They may fall asleep before we are finished, perhaps with the image of a child-Christ being found in the temple permeating their half-dozing dreams.

If the children are older, perhaps teens, never having prayed the rosary as a family before, this may be more of a problem. Explaining the thought process behind starting the prayers is important. A parent just might say she’s been doing some reading and recognized the benefit of the rosary as a prayer, and that she wants to start sharing that as a family together.

Give them some books on Fatima or St. Louis de Montfort’s classic “The Secret of the Rosary”.  Buy some illustrated inexpensive rosary books for everyone to follow until the mysteries are all memorized.  Let each child “take” a decade to pray aloud, and let him choose the special intention for that decade. If no one wants to be singled out to come up with an intention, as a family come up with ten or twenty good ideas and write them down on slips of small paper. Place them in a bowl and allow family members to select one before they recite “their” decade. Some favorite intentions of ours include “For our Holy Father and his intentions”, “For the mental, spiritual and physical health of all members of our family”, and “for all unborn children”. Especially relevant today is prayers for the leadership in our country and for peace in the world. If the teens still protest after an explanation, remember that you, as a parent, are called to spiritually lead your children, regardless of their disapproval and perhaps rolling eyes. I promise, they’ll get used to the prayers and perhaps even grow to look forward to them.

Whether you’ve been married two months or 22 years, it’s never too early or late to start the beautiful devotion of praying the rosary together every day. Just like starting a diet, the hardest part is deciding to proceed and making time that first week while the habit is still being formed. The blessings of daily rosary recitation will blossom almost immediately. Families have reported greater peace and understanding when this prayer is said regularly. Mishaps have been averted. Miracles have happened. However, perhaps the most important reason to begin praying together is simply because the Blessed Mother has asked.

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  1. Priase God! Today I took my 84 yr. old mom to the Adoration chapel at her parish church. This is a visit mom and I make every couple of weeks. While there, mom prays her rosary very slowly and with many pauses and I have the immense grace of watching her once I have finished silently praying the rosary myself.

    As a child, we prayed the rosary as a family but without much success. When I moved out, got married and started my own family, my husband and I prayed the rosary sporadically.

    About 4 years ago, my husband and I made a more conscious effort to gather our 8 children every evening to pray 3 decades of the rosary and some other prayers. We have been doing this regularly since then, praying together most nights of the week, depending on who’s home. We have grown to include guests who have dropped by, guests who have requested to pray with us, and friends of our children. Throughout all the struggles of raising a large family, caring for an elderly relative, and the myriad of joys and sorrows of daily living, the rosary has been a constant. In truth, our children never complain when it is time to gather. Our older children will sometimes pray on their own while visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration. I also have the privilege of being a member of Rosary Apostolate and pray the rosary monthly during visits with the children at our local Catholic school, here in Toronto, Canada.

    My husband and I know that what we witness in our family is the work of God and not something we have done on our own – the grace of God poured out on our family through prayer.

    Thank you for this article. Thanks for allowing me to tell my story of the power of the Rosary in my life.

    In Christ,

    Terry McDermott,
    Toronto, Canada

  2. Theresa-thank you for this wonderful post. I have been praying the Rosary for over 2 years-primarily in my car on the way to work and while exercising. I find this to be a great way to clear my mind of the “noise” and reflect on the Mysteries, the role of the Blessed Mother and of course, my relationship with Christ. We are trying to do the Rosary as a family with mixed success, but we will keep trying! I just keep remembering the blessings which have come to our family through prayer and know how important it is to teach our children the special place the Rosary has in our lives as Catholics.

    Thanks and God bless!


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