Twelve Tips for Praying the Family Rosary Daily by Dad Dr. Taylor Marshall
1. Pray using alternation (The father prays first half of Our Father and everyone else prays second half – same goes for Hail Mary and Glory be).
2. Pray the Rosary after dinner but right before bed – this means homework needs to be finished before dinner. Homework kills the Rosary if you don’t stay on top of it. You’ll also need to say goodbye to watching prime time television – since this is the ideal window of praying together as a family.
3. Pray the Holy Rosary always at the same place at the exact same time. Devotions become strong – even invincible – by constant custom and habit.
4. Pray the Rosary in a special room and set up a little altar with a Bible on it, candles, a statue or image, holy water, or a relic.
5. Dim the lights and light the candles when you begin. If you let the little ones light the candles – they will love it. Kids love fire. Make this a “special time” different from other times. We even burn incense on our domestic altar on feast days. (You can do this easily by placing a little metal screen over a votive candle and then by placing a few grains of incense on the screen. It’s fast and easy. This way you don’t have use charcoal.)
6. Maybe begin with a hymn or Bible reading to slow things down and set the tone.
7. The father sets the example. I recommend that the father kneel for the whole Rosary. This communicates importance and solemnity to the Rosary. Children attach importance to what dad does, e.g. mowing lawn, going to work, driving the “dad car,” etc.
8. Make it a rule that the child who prays all the responses and volunteers to lead a mystery (10 beads) gets to stay up 10 minutes more than everyone that night – at our house this means you get to watch baseball or have a book read to you. This may be the most important tip. Kids under 7 or 8 need this sort of incentive. If you tell a 6 year old, pray the Rosary so that you receive grace and sanctity – they don’t get it. If you say, pray the Rosary so that you can stay up and read a book with me – they’ll hit their knees and pray like angels.
9. The one who gets to stay up also gets to blow out the candle at the end. This gives another incentive to pray the prayers – especially for the younger ones. For some reason, blowing out the candle is a really big deal to younger children. (Kids love fire!!!). You’d be amazed how a four year old will attempt to stay still if he can only place a grain of incense on a flame or blow out a candle. (Did I mention that kids love fire?)
10. End with invoking everyone’s patron saint (your children’s names, confirmation names, and other patrons). E.g. “Saint Thomas: pray for us. Saint Jude: pray for us. Saint Anne: pray for us.” Always finish with St Joseph and then Holy Mary Mother of God. Then say “Sacred Heart of Jesus: have mercy on us,” three times. If you’re shooting for the plenary indulgence, make sure to pray an Our Father and Hail Mary for the Pope.
11. If family Rosary is new, start with one decade for a week. Then go to three for a week. Then go to five decades on the third week. Then don’t ever stop.
12. After the daily Rosary is established in your home, have each child announce a mystery and pray the whole decade. This gives them confidence in praying and makes it natural. Plus, they’ll learn to memorize all the mysteries of the Holy Rosary – which means they will have memorized the biblical account of Christ’s life, death, and glory! This is why the Rosary is called “the Bible on beads.”
If you do this, then you’ll be producing saints for the future. If you’re an older reader of CTales and your children are grown up – please pray for all the younger parents so that they can persevere in this. It’s not easy at first – and we newer parents need all the help we can get!
ad Jesum per Mariam,
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