Tag Archives: Rosary

Apostleship of Prayer

1 May

I always keep on my desk a leaflet from the Apostleship of Prayer, containing the Pope’s intentions for each month. Uniting ours prayers with those of the Holy Father and the universal Church is an excellent way to open ourselves to God’s personal call in our lives.

Before giving the Pope’s intentions for May, I’d like to recommend two privileged times for remembering the Pope’s intentions:

First, there’s the Morning Offering, which is a great way to commit our day to the Lord:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and for all the intentions recommended by our Holy Father this month. Amen.

Second, there’s the family Rosary. At the beginning or end of the Rosary, to gain the indulgence for praying the Rosary–and again to manifest the unity of our prayer with that of the universal Church–it’s customary to pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the Pope’s intentions.

But what are the Pope’s intentions this month? Here they are:.

The Family. That initiatives which defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted within society.

Mary, Guide of Missionaries. That Mary, Queen of the World and Star of Evangelization, may accompany all missionaries in proclaiming her Son Jesus.

The Heart of a Father

19 Mar

The Catholic Church “heartily” celebrates the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the heart symbolizing the immense love of our Lord and His Blessed Mother for each one of us.

Yet, Catholic husbands and fathers might also consider meditating on the heart of St. Joseph, the third member of the Holy Family, whose great feast we celebrate today. His heart is an apt symbol of the love he contributed to the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation that was unfolding under his watch.

And now that same masculine vigilance and love, once focused on his beloved wife and the Christ Child, is bestowed on each one of us, as he is universally invoked as the patron of the Catholic Church.

At the outset of St. Luke’s Gospel, we learn that part of St. John the Baptist’s role in preparing the people for the imminent coming of the Messiah was to turn the hearts of fathers to their children so as to make ready for the Lord a people that was truly prepared for Him (cf. Mal. 3:23-24; Lk. 1:17). In St. Joseph, we find a father whose heart is already exquisitely calibrated.

His heart is always in the right place, and God was able to accomplish great things through this eminently just and faithful man.

St. Joseph’s fatherly heart jumps off the page throughout the biblical accounts of Christ’s childhood. Let’s take a brief look at just one such familiar episode: the Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Lk. 2:41-52), the Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up according to custom” (vv. 41-42).

These verses may seem unremarkable at first blush, though as St. Joseph is carting the Holy Family from place to place in the first century we can be certain these journeys were much more onerous than a leisurely afternoon drive in the air-conditioned minivan. But even in his fidelity to the Jewish practices of his time, St. Joseph gives us a most timely lesson on the value of men being observant Catholics. Too often we find at Sunday Mass mom and the kids, but where’s dad? St. Joseph challenges us men to allow our love for the Lord and zeal for our faith to set the tone for the entire family.

Real men go to church! Continue reading

Homilies, World Youth Day, and the Rosary

14 Oct

I wasn’t going to blog today, but I came across a couple articles at Catholic News Agency that I thought were worth sharing.

First, in “Reaching teens: the priest who roared,” Mary Hasson tells about a recent experience of her teenage son, who was won over by the homily of a visiting priest whose passion was contagious. I think there’s an important lesson there not only for priests and deacons, but for all of us when it comes to communicating our faith to others. In addition, I don’t think young people are the only ones who sometimes need to hear a passionate, challenging presentation of the Gospel!

Second, in “Experiencing the universal,” Jessica Harris provides an interesting insight on the value of World Youth Days to get youth to think outside their “bubble” as members of a Church that is truly universal–something we need to do even when WYD isn’t going on.

Also, ZENIT reports that at this week’s Wednesday Audience,  Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the daily recitation of the Rosary, emphasizing that it is a tool to grow in the theological virtues and a path for cooperating in the plan of salvation. He referred to the Rosary as a “school of prayer for us,” and he expressed his wish that the month of October, which is dedicated to the Rosary, would assist in discovering “the beauty of this simple but efficacious prayer.”

For our archdiocesan posts on the Rosary this month, click here.

Picturing the Mysteries

7 Oct

Yesterday I mentioned the catechetical dimension of the family Rosary, a point which Pope John Paul II emphasized in his 2002 apostolic letter on this traditional prayer. But 20 minutes is a long time for a three-year-old to sit still. How do we keep our kids engaged?

First, I try to get them involved, as kids naturally want to “do something.” So my younger children get to hand out rosaries and prayer books, light candles, and lead individual mysteries, among other things. This can make for interesting Rosaries, especially when the children are not old enough to count to ten or to remember all the prayers!

Second, I count on the children to remember prayer intentions. I receive lots of them, and I find their little memories often work better than mine. Even more importantly, this exercise requires the kids to think outside themselves, and thereby grow in Christian empathy.

Third, the family Rosary is a time for the children to quiet themselves. We find it very helpful to have picture books or images for the children to help them enter into the mysteries. Of course, as they get older, they use prayer books with a little more text, or even the Bible itself for “Scriptural Rosaries.”

We’ve also used a “Rosary Quilt” as an interactive tool, as we train the little children to see each Hail Mary as a special flower they are picking for our Blessed Mother.

When most of our children were small, we were also blessed to have a parish Church with beautiful stained glass windows depicting the mysteries of the Rosary. I like to refer to these windows as “Gospels that little kids can read.” It’s utterly amazing how much gets soaked in through their consideration of the events of Jesus and Mary’s life. It really builds their religious imagination, too.

About a decade ago I asked one of my daughters (now a Dominican novice) what her favorite mystery of the Rosary is, and she immediately said the Coronation. I was a little surprised, as I had always had a little more difficulty with that one, since the scene isn’t laid out in detail in the Bible. I asked her why, and she said, “When we pray that mystery, I think about what heaven must be like.”

Isn’t that what we want our children to think about? It reminds me of Philippians 4:8, which we heard at Mass last Sunday: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

This post, in edited form, was originally published by Catholics United for the Faith. The above image was taken from this helpful post in the blog entitled “A Catholic Notebook.”

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. Continue reading