The Family Rosary

6 Oct

Back in 2002, Pope John Paul II issued a document entitled The Rosary of the Virgin Mary to foster a renewed devotion to the Rosary in the new millennium. This magnificent teaching was for all the faithful, but in a very special way the Pope was reaching out to families. Here is what he said to us:

“A similar need for commitment and prayer arises in relation to another critical contemporary issue: the family, the primary cell of society, increasingly menaced by forces of disintegration on both the ideological and practical planes, so as to make us fear for the future of this fundamental and indispensable institution and, with it, for the future of society as a whole. The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis” (no. 6).

It’s not an overstatement, then, to say that the family Rosary can and must play a pivotal role in the renewal of our society. For that reason, especially during this month devoted to the Rosary, I want to encourage families to make the Rosary part of their daily life.

Today, I simply want to note that praying the Rosary as a family has a teaching component. Yes, it’s primarily a prayer, but the focus on the individual mysteries over time provides important catechetical formation for everyone involved, especially children.

I didn’t have a particularly high opinion of the Rosary as a child. I don’t mean to be critical of my late father. I like to say that as the youngest of fourteen children, I’m grateful that my Mom and Dad didn’t have the “good sense” to stop at thirteen! But for whatever reason, as my Dad prayed the Rosary, he didn’t even mention the mysteries, but just seemed to be rattling off the prayers. That seemed empty and boring to me.

Now, the prayers themselves are powerful, but it’s very important that we don’t skip over the meditative dimension of the prayer. After all, while the prayers are the percussion, the meditation is the melody.

In tomorrow’s post,  I will discuss ways to help children pray the Rosary, but for now I simply want to emphasize the importance of announcing the mystery. And particularly when praying the Rosary with one’s family or in some other group setting, I’ve found it very helpful to include a short biblical reading with each mystery to further aid our entry into the given mystery, so that in the company of Our Lady we may together focus on the person and saving work of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.

2 Responses to “The Family Rosary”

  1. Jabelah October 6, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    Nice Blog 🙂


  2. Laura October 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Looking forward to your tips tomorrow!

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