I came across this article the other day and I thought it served as a great foundation for a quick list of Rosary “hacks” for Catholic families:
The first three ideas are taken from Fr. Cole’s advice (article linked above), followed by a few I’ve added, which, through personal trial and error and through hearing what other families do, have proven to be additional useful tips for giving the Rosary a more regular place in family life.
Pause before each mystery to reflect. Mention the mystery before you start the decade, and pause a moment to reflect on that mystery, reminding you to think of that moment in Christ’s life (maybe even through the perspective of Mary!) as you pray the following Our Father and Hail Mary’s.
Offer up each decade for a specific intention. Have someone in the family (or everyone) mention an intention they’d like that decade to be offered for.
Split it up. The Dominican priest, Fr. Cole, recommends that people consider praying a decade of the Rosary at different times throughout the day, allowing more time to focus on each one. He recommends this as a far better alternative to “rushing through an entire Rosary” just for the sake of praying it all at once.
Pick a set time. In our family, we usually pray a decade of the Rosary after dinner, since we are all gathered together then anyway. Warning: If it’s too close to bedtime, you’ll have sleepy pray-ers. Having a routine location is helpful, too.
Rotate voices. Maybe dad prays the beginning of each prayer and the family completes, for example. Give children the chance to lead, too.
Ask for the intercession of the saints. Have each family member ask for one favorite saint’s intercession before or after the Rosary or decade.
Set the atmosphere. Make a holy atmosphere around the place you’ll pray. Perhaps you can have a picture or icon of Jesus and the Blessed Mother nearby, and/or light candles.
“Many in the world have lost the sense of contemplation, but if it is recovered, prayer could greatly strengthen individuals and families….If it [the rosary] is done correctly, wow it can really strengthen a marriage. Because in a marriage [and family], you have to face trials and difficulties. You need patience and kindness – graces that the rosary offers us are there.” -Fr. Basil Cole, O.P.
For more tips on prioritizing prayer in family life, check out this book.
So glad you decided to read Head & Heart, either on your own, with your spouse, or with a group! It’s a great way for other couples desiring to be strong spiritual leaders of their family to motivate one another and exchange ideas. Here are some resources to help you as you journey through the book with others:
Head & Heart Book Recommendation Announcements: designed to be used as bulletin announcements, for diocesan/parish/ministry email blasts, and for social media, these brief descriptions of the book will help encourage others to grab a copy for themselves or join a discussion group.
The Catholic Resource Guide for Spiritual Leaders: a great free resource for readers of Head & Heart and others who are looking for recommendations for tons of top-notch Catholic websites, books, audio and video resources to help you better learn and share the Catholic faith.
Head & Heart Memes: designed for use in social media to help spread the word to your Head & Heart study group – or even just to your friends or parish community – about the importance of spiritual leadership in family life. Please save and share! Also, follow me on Facebook for more images and articles related to spiritual leadership and family life to share with your networks.
…and please share with your family, friends, and parish community! The book was written for use at home, or in adult faith formation, mens’/womens’ groups, marriage prep and marriage ministry at your parish.
“Home and hearth mark the ordinary path that leads to heaven. It’s where we make progress—or we get lost. Katie Warner has drawn up a map we can read and follow, so that we all arrive at the goal, together with our families.” —Dr. Scott Hahn, Founder and President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Bestselling author and speaker
“Our culture today often fights the distinctions between men and women, between the masculine head and the feminine heart of the family.
“Contrary to certain secular opinions, husbands and wives and mothers and fathers cannot easily fulfill one another’s roles. As Christians, we know that the God-designed differences between men and women contribute to the enrichment of family life, as Pope Francis has been addressing in his general audiences.
“God created men and women to complement one another, which works to our advantage in our spiritual lives and families…”
“Familiaris Consortio (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World) is abundantly clear about the role of parents in educating their children: “Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. … Hence, the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs” (36).
“Without question, parents are the primary influence on the faith lives of young people. Many Catholic parents are deliberately teaching and witnessing the faith to their children at home, laying a foundation of faith that will support their families for a lifetime.”
Read more from my recent article in the National Catholic Register...
Want to learn how to become a stronger spiritual leader for your family, and live a more vibrant, purposeful Catholic life in your home? This book will show you how. Learn more here.
“Home and hearth mark the ordinary path that leads to heaven. It’s where we make progress — or we get lost. Katie Warner has drawn up a map we can read and follow, so that we all arrive at the goal, together with our families.” -Dr. Scott Hahn
Are you looking for a resource to help you live your Catholic faith at home? Through inspiring stories, church teaching, and practical action steps, Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family will guide you toward making simple progress to better lead and love your family toward heaven. Get your copy from EmmausRoad.org.
*These announcements can obviously be customized to your group, parish, or ministry to include other details. The book is also available on Amazon, and has both print and e-reader formats on both Amazon and EmmausRoad.org.
“Ordinary Time is not a stagnant or unimportant season; like all other seasons in the Church year, it is an ordered time for growth and a time to strengthen one’s spiritual life and be Christ to one’s neighbor, making Ordinary Time more extraordinary.”
“Giving can stretch us out of our comfort zones, but in that stretching, we inch ourselves closer to becoming spiritual leaders after God’s own heart. Give a little, and then a little more, until you feel some discomfort. Where there is pain, there is generally some eternal gain.”
Without question, parents are the primary influence on the faith lives of their children. Study after study shows that when parents are strong spiritual leaders, and when fathers—yes, dads in particular—teach and witness the faith to their children, the kids are far more likely to grow up and live faithful lives themselves.
What kind of role do you want the Catholic faith to play in the lives of your grown children? That’s the kind of role that faith should be playing in your life right now. You are the primary educators of your children—not the pastor, not the youth minister, not the Sunday school catechist, Confirmation coordinator or Catholic school theology teacher. You and your spouse have the privilege and the responsibility to teach your children about their Christian faith, which also requires that you continually learn about it yourself…