The second Sunday of May is Mother’s Day; it is on that day that we honor the mothers in our families.
But the entire month of May is a time we can honor our spiritual mother, Mary, specifically through prayer and processions, like the May procession and May crowning. And, just as families prefer to spend time together on Mother’s Day, so should they spend time together when honoring and praying through Mary to Jesus Christ. The rosary devotion is one of the ways this can be done.
The rosary is an important devotion in which we can honor the Blessed Virgin. Heidi Peckham, Secretary of Pastoral Ministry at the Diocese of Orlando, grew up in a devoted Catholic household and remembers praying the rosary frequently with family members, especially in the month of May. She said that, although it is difficult sometimes to pray the rosary together in today’s society, making the effort is important.
Peckham said one way to incorporate the rosary into family life is to make it personal. For example, she said when families pray the 5th joyful mystery, “Finding of Jesus in the Temple,” families can talk about personal experiences of learning and teaching. The children can lead the rosary and dedicate each individual Hail Mary to a special teacher in their life.
“It gives the children an opportunity to pray for other people,” Peckham said. “We can pray for teachers, expectant mothers. It makes praying the rosary easier.”
Peckham suggested different ways to pray the rosary, such as using a Franciscan rosary, which has seven decades instead of five. That rosary, which commemorates the Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary, is prayed at 7 p.m. daily, by people around the world. The scriptural rosary features direct quotations from scripture, and Peckham said this rosary can be used, for example, to pray for victims of abuse.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe offers, in essence, many places for quiet reflection and to pray the rosary. The rosary garden outside the basilica offers visitors a chance to walk the rosary and pray each individual bead. The adoration chapel inside the basilica is also a good place to pray the rosary, said Father Paul Henry, rector.
“We have to do it reflectively,” Father Henry said. “It’s a beautiful way for us to link our journey with the mystery of Christ.”
Father Henry said he encourages families to pray the rosary together, if possible, because prayer keeps solidarity in families. He suggested praying in the car, for example, even if it is only one decade.
“The family that prays together is enriched in a number of ways,” Father Henry said. “It’s not always easy to do because of distractions and in today’s culture. But it’s purpose is to help us reflect on the mysteries of our faith. It’s a prayer for spiritual victory. It reminds us of what we believe.”