Our Lady



Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing;
Who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

Last night our Family Formation students had class and discussed everything Marian.

My wife taught the 6th grade class and this is what she did for class:

1) She broke the kids up into 5 groups and they rotated to 5 different stations about Mary.

2) The 5 Stations explored the following:

1. Original Sin

2. What we as Catholics believe about Mary

3. Why wear a Scapular or Miraculous Medal

4. Developing a devotion to Mary in the Rosary

5. Marian Apparitions

3) After students spent time at each station they took a quiz reviewing what they learned at each station.

4) My wife shared that this not only helped them learn about Mary but it engaged them to a far greater degree than if they would have just talked about it with students sitting at their desks.

This brings me to a larger point regarding teaching on Mary.  I truly believe that by helping foster a devotion to Mary to your students it will draw them into their faith and increase their love for God and neighbor.  Mary is truly our model in faith and she draws us closer to Jesus.  It not only sounds good but it is true.  How many times have you heard people talk about their devotion to Mary as a way that had helped them grow in their faith?

Here are a few ways to help your students grow in their devotion to Mary thus leading them closer to Jesus:

 

1) Pray a decade of the Rosary as you begin or end class.  Consider picking one of the mysteries of the day (for example if you meet on Sundays or Wednesdays then choose one of the Glorious Mysteries to pray). Try to connect it to the lesson of the day or a way to ask Mary to bless your class.  I also pray at the end and offer it to Mary at the foot of the cross.

2) Point to Mary often in your teaching as a model of faith and response to God’s ways.  For example if you are talking about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – point out how Mary shows us how to live them.

3) Pray a Marian Litany (two examples below)

Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Litany to Mary of Nazareth

May today’s Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception be a reminder of Mary’s Holiness and our call to help our students grow in their faith and model her!

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Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.  This feast day was originally called the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.  I love the title of Our Lady of Victory.  St. Therese constantly mentioned this title of Our Lady in Story of a Soul.  Pope Clement XI changed the feast day to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, because it was in fact the power of praying the Rosary that the Christians won the battle over the mighty Turkish Army.

Our Lady has continually shared with the faithful to pray the Rosary for penance and conversion.  In addition Pope’s and holy men and women have not only encouraged devotion to Mary through the Rosary but also testified to its power.

Empowering Students

As Catechists we cannot underestimate the value to praying the Rosary and passing this devotion onto the next generation.  Here are some ways to help students foster devotion to the Holy Rosary:

1) Open your class by praying a decade of the Rosary.  Or pray it at the end of class by offering up the petitions of the students as well as offering up that particular days lesson asking Mary to draw us closer to Jesus helping each of the students live out their faith.

2) Instead of taking time to do a craft or watching a video that takes up 20 minutes of class time, pray the Rosary.  Helping students learn how to meditate on the beautiful mysteries of the Rosary is an invaluable lesson.

3) Give examples of how students can pray the Rosary throughout their lives (e.g., on their way to and from school, before they begin doing their homework, at the end of the day, while traveling on a trip, etc.).  The Rosary is a source of strength and consolation in times of worry and struggle as well as times of thanksgiving and praise to God for His many blessings.

Contemplating the Face of Christ

I want to close with something Blessed John Paul II said during the recitation of the Angelus in 2002:

The Rosary is a way of contemplating the face of Christ seeing him – we may say – with the eyes of Mary. For this reason, it is a prayer that drawing upon the core of the Gospel is in full accord with the inspiration of the Second Vatican Council and very much in keeping with the direction I gave in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte: the Church has to launch out “into the deep” in the new millennium beginning with the contemplation of the face of Christ.

Therefore, I wish to suggest the recitation of the Rosary to individuals, families and Christian communities. To give force to this invitation, I am preparing a document which will help to rediscover the beauty and depth of this prayer.

I wish once again to entrust the great cause of peace to the praying of the Rosary. We are facing an international situation that is full of tensions, at times threatening to explode. In some parts of the world, where the confrontation is harsher – I think particularly of the suffering land of Christ – we can realize that, even though they are necessary, political efforts are worth little if one remains exacerbated in his mind and no one cares to demonstrate a new disposition of heart in the hope of reviving the struggle and effort of dialogue. 

Who but God alone can infuse such sentiments? It is more necessary than ever that from every part of the earth prayer for peace be made to Him. In this perspective, the Rosary turns out to be the form of prayer most needed. It builds peace because, while it appeals to the grace of God, it sows in the one praying it the seed of good from which we can expect the fruit of justice and solidarity for personal and community life.

I am thinking of nations and also of families. How much peace would flow into family relationships if the family would begin again to pray the Rosary.

How do you promote and foster devotion?

How else would you encourage students to pray the Rosary?  How do you foster devotion to the Holy Rosary?

 

 


I recently found a good link to praying the Rosary.  I found it to be a helpful site explaining the basics.  I would have explained that the Glory be prayer and the Fatima prayer are prayed between the 10th Hail Mary Bead and the next Our Father Bead but I’ve seen it explained both ways.    Pope John Paul II shared the following about Objections to the Rosary:

“The timeliness of this proposal is evident from a number of considerations. First, the urgent need to counter a certain crisis of the Rosary, which in the present historical and theological context can risk being wrongly devalued, and therefore no longer taught to the younger generation. There are some who think that the centrality of the Liturgy, rightly stressed by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, necessarily entails giving lesser importance to the Rosary. Yet, as Pope Paul VI made clear, not only does this prayer not conflict with the Liturgy, it sustains it, since it serves as an excellent introduction and a faithful echo of the Liturgy, enabling people to participate fully and interiorly in it and to reap its fruits in their daily lives.

Perhaps too, there are some who fear that the Rosary is somehow unecumenical because of its distinctly Marian character. Yet the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological centre of the Christian faith, in such a way that “when the Mother is honoured, the Son … is duly known, loved and glorified”.(8) If properly revitalized, the Rosary is an aid and certainly not a hindrance to ecumenism!

3 Ways to Foster Devotion to the Rosary in Your Religious Education Program:

1) Pray a decade of the Rosary at the beginning or end of your class meditating on 1 of the 20 mysteries.

2) Take 20 minutes now and then to help your students become comfortable with praying the Rosary.  Seek to help engage them, not just recite it at a pace merely to get to the finish line.

3) Pray the Rosary for your students by offering up your intentions for them.

Other helpful links:

http://www.rosaries4u.com/blessings.html

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20021016_rosarium-virginis-mariae_en.html

http://www.medjugorje.org/rosary.htm