Say to the Children
On October 7 we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Rosary is a longtime Church and family practice that can help you keep focused on faith. While many people pray the Rosary while kneeling or sitting in church, it can be prayed anywhere, anytime, with others or by yourself—even when you’re in bed falling asleep.
The Rosary helps you find long-lasting peace and calm. It helps you grow closer to God and the people you love. It helps you remember important and inspiring mysteries of faith. It helps you remember what Jesus did for you and the role that Mary, his mother, played. It helps you find peace, calm, and inner happiness even when life gets tough. The Rosary helps you trust in God’s love so you’re not worried or anxious.
When you pray the Rosary, think about the mysteries of faith with each decade you pray—each event in the life of Jesus, Mary, and the early Church. Visualize the scene, picturing it in your mind. Think about how it relates to your life. Talk to God about it, with praise and thanks for God’s gifts to you.
Praying the Rosary quiets you so you can listen to and be open to God’s loving presence. God usually speaks to minds and hearts in a quiet, gentle voice, with an inner knowing that’s hard to hear in the hubbub of daily life. The Rosary offers a time of quiet listening to God’s quiet, gentle voice.
Sometimes praying the Rosary is hard; you would rather be playing or talking to your friends. However, if you set aside this time for God, whether or not you feel like it, there will come times when you feel upset or hurt or angry, when you have a cold or are sick, when it’s hard to pray. That’s when the Rosary carries you and brings you peace so you begin to feel right again. While you are learning to pray the Rosary, you “carry” the Rosary. Once it becomes a part of your life, the Rosary “carries” you.
ACTIVITY: Rosary Crafts
Before doing some research, I thought making knotted rosaries would be a great activity for classrooms. Then I found that you need 19’ to 20’ of twine for a full rosary, 4 ½’ to 5’ for a one-decade rosary. You need to singe ends of the twine with a lighter or candle to prevent unraveling (or seal them with super glue). Finally, I saw that it’s not easy to make the beautiful knots.
However, knotted rosaries are inexpensive, sturdy, child-pocket friendly, and beautiful, and there are great websites with instructions—one even includes a video.
- See first “How to Make a Knot Rosary” at RosaryArmy.com for detailed instructions.
- Then go to lifeisaprayer.com/how-to-make-knot-rosary for the video and other tips.
- At fnt-victory.net/fnt-victory.net/RosaryInstructions.pdf there are step-by-step photos of how to make the knot.
- Go to rosary.com/rosaries/1481/Rosary-Making-Kits for multi-colored twine kits.
Besides string, cord, or wire, and scissors (or wire clippers), you will need 53 Hail Mary beads (10 for each of the 5 decades and 3 leading from the first Our Father bead after the cross) plus 6 Our Father separator beads, which can be the same size or larger: 59 beads in all. You also need a cross and a joining piece or medal or a larger bead for where the two ends of the entire loop join. You can purchase separate parts at craft stores or at CatholicParts.com.
For busy catechists, I recommend skipping bead counting and, instead, purchasing a rosary kit for each child. They are as inexpensive as $10 for 12 sets and come with directions (even prayer cards sometimes) for each child. For this project, you might want to enlist the help of older children, especially Confirmation candidates, looking for a service project.
I like the Oriental Trading Company’s inexpensive kit IN-48/5543 Jumbo “How To Pray the Rosary” Craft Kit. It has large colorful beads (easy for little hands to handle) and costs only $9.95 for 12 sets. The same company also carries a kit with glass beads, IN-68/65155, for older children.
When the children have finished making their rosaries, you might want to use this blessing to pray over them. Have on hand a bowl of holy water and a sprinkling sprig. The rosaries may be in a bowl or basket on a prayer table or in the hands of the children.
Loving Father in Heaven, you bless us and renew us in many ways when we turn to you in prayer. Bless these rosaries our hands have made (sprinkle rosaries) to enlist our hands in prayer and good works. As the beads pass through our fingers and we think about your Beloved Son Jesus, lift our minds and hearts. May we realize that we, too, are your sons and daughters; that you love us; and that, in Jesus, you lead us further into life.
Mary, in your son, Jesus, you are our mother, too. When we have crucial needs, teach us to ask one hundred percent of you, not twenty-five or fifty, knowing that you can then help us one hundred percent because God can refuse you nothing. In your love, in the love of your son Jesus, and in the love of God our Creator, may we grow to be our best selves, a blessing to those around us and to our world (sprinkle students).
Lord Jesus, thank you for coming into our world to help us, to teach us, and to bring us home to our Loving Father. Thank you for giving us your mother to be our mother as well. As we pray the Rosary, teach us to become quiet and calm, to visualize the Mysteries of the Rosary and to learn from them. May these events from your life teach us to hear the quiet, still voice of your Spirit and guide us in your ways. May we learn to love and serve you and others and to live in your peace, love, and joy. Amen.
A great October practice would be to pray a different set of Mysteries of the Rosary each week, one decade or all five decades as time allows. Let a different child lead each time. The order in which the mysteries are best prayed, outlined by Pope John Paul II in 2002, is: first week, the Joyful Mysteries; second week, the Luminous Mysteries; third week, the Sorrowful Mysteries; fourth week, the Glorious Mysteries.
Jeanne Heiberg is the author of Advent Arts and Christmas Crafts (Paulist Press) and Advent calendars (Creative Communications). Her latest project is a book on Father Peyton for Family Rosary. She has taught art, writing, creative catechetics, and meditation, and has directed parish catechetical programs. Jeanne gives writing/art workshops in upstate New York, where she also writes, paints, and gardens.
Source: CATECHIST Magazine, October 2010
Copyright 2013, Peter Li, Inc. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any form without permission, except for use with your classes or families.