Does prayer make your kids smile?
Our family started praying the Angelus and Regina Caeli regularly a couple of years ago. At first, I didn’t think it would be something they would enjoy. Saying the same words over and over again seemed like something that young kids would find boring and hard to focus on.
It turns out, they love it. They love praying the Angelus as a family. Now that they are older and know the prayers by heart, they love leading prayer, too. They feel confidence in the fact that they know the words and they can participate in the call/response style of prayer.
Leader: “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
Family: “And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.”
They really do love the Angelus.
But, then Easter comes around and we switch from the Angelus to the Regina Caeli during the designated prayer times (6:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m.).
Here is the Regina Caeli:
Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For he, whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
Has risen as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
- Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
- For the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Let us pray: O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Notice how in this version there is only one instance of the call/response format. Some versions of the prayer break apart the initial lines into a call and response, but I have found it to be more common in this form.
So, how do you get the kids to participate in the prayer?
Here is what we do as a family and—I have to tell you—it puts a smile on their faces every time we pray. Not only that, but I find myself smiling, too. That smiling is contagious and before you know it the whole family gets a little taste of that smiling joy of the Resurrection.
So, here’s what we do (it is very simple):
Alleluia is at the end of each line of the prayer. As the leader, I simply raise my hand at the end of each phrase and invite the family to join in with a triumphant “ALLELUIA.”
The repetitive nature of the prayer drives home the joy we can experience daily during the season of Easter. We say alleluia again and again and express the joy and praise that we want to give back to God for rising from the dead and granting us salvation.
Meditating on the Regina Caeli
Now, how about you? What can you do to meditate on and experience more deeply the joy of the Regina Caeli?
I invite you to slow down and think about those words throughout the day. Take a few moments before you pray to reflect on what each part of the prayer means to you.
I wrote Praying the Angelus (which also focuses on the Regina Caeli) with dozens of meditations to help people understand more deeply the lessons of both prayers and to integrate these lessons into their daily lives.
Whether you use the book to do this reflecting or not is not as important as those few moments each day that you set aside to think about how your life reflects the words that you pray.
The Regina Caeli is such a short prayer, but a powerful one. And a prayer that can transform our hearts from that of worry and doubt to the joy and peace we celebrate during the season of Easter—a joy that is only a taste of the joys of heaven to come.