Family Prayer in the New Year

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This last Advent, we decided to make our time around the Advent wreath a focal time of family prayer.  After dinner, Philip gave the kids baths and put them in their jammies while I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.  Afterward, we gathered around the dinner table.  With only the light from our Advent wreath candles, Philip led our family in prayer using Lisa Hendey’s “O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath.”  (I highly recommend this booklet as a resource for your prayer time around the Advent Wreath.)

A few weeks into Advent, we realized how much we all looked forward to this time together.  We decided we wanted to continue that special, dedicated family prayer time in addition to our meal and bedtime prayer routine.

Advent began nearly a month after we lost baby Thérèse.  During that first week of Advent, we prepared a family Rosary to commemorate Thérèse’s life.  In preparation for the family Rosary, I put together a Family Prayer Binder.

Inside the binder, I included pocket dividers to hold laminated images of the different Mysteries of the Rosary.  (We purchased the images at our local Catholic bookstore, and I laminated them on my brand new laminator.  I love that thing!)

The images are beautiful and helpful for focusing on the Mysteries as we pray them.

After we had the Rosary for Thérèse, we decided to start saying one decade of the Rosary during our prayer time around the Advent Wreath.

Princess Janie loves this beautiful purple and pink Rosary given to me by my sister and brother-in-law on the occasion of their daughter’s (my goddaughter’s!) baptism.

Walter can’t be trusted with the nice Rosaries yet, so he gets this special, nearly indestructible one with plastic beads.

After the Advent wreath went away, we realized we needed a new focal point in addition to the laminated images of the Mysteries of the Rosary.  Since the kids loved watching the flames of the Advent Wreath candles in the darkness, we decided to buy a beautiful gardenia-scented candle with a pretty cover.  When we burn that candle down to the bottom, we can use the cover on a new one.

Weeks later, Janie still asks for “the purple Rosary.”  She loves asking about the laminated images and is able to identify the various figures.  She told me today that “Jesus has long hair like Rapunzel.”  Oh, the sweet innocence of children!  Janie loves getting to kiss Jesus’ feet on the Crucifix of her Rosary at the end of our prayer and blow out the candle.

After Janie blows out the candle, Walt loves to wave the smoke around with his pudgy little hands.

Sometimes he sticks his hand in a little too far!

We’ve been praying a decade each night for nearly a month, and the kids are really getting the swing of things.  Tonight, Philip said it was “time to pray the Rosary,” and both kiddos came running to their chairs at the table.  Right on cue, Janie asked for her purple Rosary, and Walt told all of us “pray!” as he folded his hands.

For now, one decade is the extent of our Rosary time around the dinner table.  At their ages (almost 3 and 19 months), we’re happy to have them confined to their chairs and focused for five minutes.  We’ll build from here!  I look forward to celebrating the different liturgical seasons and adding to our dedicated family prayer time.

Copyright 2013 Catherine Boucher

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About Author

Catherine Boucher went into "early retirement" from teaching high school Spanish to become a stay-at-home mom. She has three children on earth (Jane, Walter, and Harold) and a saint in heaven (Thérèse). When she isn't taking care of her children, she's probably spending time with her husband, blogging, reading, cooking/baking, or catching up with friends. Catherine's personal blog is The Life I Need.

3 Comments

  1. Catherine, this post gave me goosebumps and teardrops! Parent like you and Philip who love their God and their family enough to pray like this give me hope. If more folks follow your beautiful example, we just might change this world!! Thank you and may God bless you and your family!

  2. This post went straight to my heart and got me so excited! I have been looking for ways to pray daily with the children, to include the rosary daily with the children, to incorporate regular Catholic ideals regularly with the children, and…as a family. This post moved me, inspired me, and connected me. My husband and I both come from Catholic families, but neither of us grew up doing Catholic connective things with our parents and siblings outside of Mass. And we NEED to. We need to in order to connect more tightly as a family and to become closer as a Catholic family. So thank you, thank you for this wonderful, wonderful post. I will have you sent to my inbox and look fwd to what I now see as a “dose of Catholic connectedness” in the morning. :) Have a wonderful morning!

  3. Sheri and Marianne,

    Thank you both for your kind words. Your lavish praise is making me feel like I might have oversold where we are with our family prayer, but we are happy to be making progress with little baby steps, and one decade of the Rosary after dinner is working for now. Watching our children develop a love for the Lord and the Blessed Mother is all of the motivation I need to keep passing on the Faith. Their innocence and excitement remind me and my husband to love God with simple, childlike faith.

    I just read a fantastic article from Catholic Icing by Lacy about making a prayer table for children. She gives some fantastic tips on creating a basic prayer space for families with little ones. Here is the link with pictures in case you are interested: http://catholicicing.com/2013/01/how-to-make-a-prayer-table-for-catholic-kids/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CatholicIcing+%28Catholic+Icing%29

    God bless both of you!

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