A practical application for the Rosary in Catholic schools
By Sheri Wohlfert
Happy Month of the Holy Rosary! As teachers we all know that practical application amplifies learning. Students want to know WHY they are learning what they are learning and they want to know how they will use it. Teaching our students how, when, and why to pray the Rosary is important work, not only for their souls but for the worldwide Church.
A few years ago, a new principal brought many new and exciting ideas and practices to our school. Out of the whole bag of tricks he has shared with us, his Funeral Rosary practice is one of my favorites. It has led to a beautiful and greatly appreciated tradition in our parish. If you are looking for a practical application for teaching students to pray the Rosary, this is for you.
Every time there is a funeral in our parish, one of the older grades lines the sidewalk next to the church and prays a Rosary for the soul of the deceased and their family. Walking across the street from the funeral chapel to the church, the family of the deceased is greeted by the sight and sound of 40 or more students praying the Rosary for their intention. The experience is both powerful and loving. If the deceased happens to be a grandparent or relative of a younger student, that class is asked to join the older students to pray the Rosary. In our tight-knit community, there have been as many as 120 children praying the Rosary on the sidewalk.
Many times since we have begun this tradition the school has received letters and gifts of appreciation for offering this prayerful gesture. One family gave the school a framed picture of Our Lady of the Rosary that had been a wedding gift to their parents more than 60 years ago. That picture hangs near the front door of the school, and it reminds us of the significance of the Rosary we are about to pray. Families are touched by the generosity of the gesture and the kids are left feeling like they’ve done something helpful and meaningful at a time when we usually don’t know what to do at all.
The students have seen tearful families smile and wave and say heartfelt thank-you’s on their way past, touched and comforted by their prayers. The students have been touched by the sadness of death and inspired by the promise of eternal life. They have prayed for grandparents, relatives, and sadly, a classmate. They have discovered the comfort and peace of prayer and they have learned the importance of clinging to prayer in times of sadness. It seemed like a simple assignment to stand on the sidewalk and pray, but it has blossomed into something very powerful and meaningful.
The students see it as an honor to be asked to “pray someone home.”
Sheri Wohlfert is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker, and teacher who writes from Michigan. She uses her sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.
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