May is always a good time to talk about Mary, although certainly not the only time! One powerful way to do this is to teach or review praying the Rosary. Many religious education curriculum plans do not include a lesson on teaching the Rosary, only include the prayer in the back of the book. Because of this, teachers often assume it has been taught in previous years or will be taught later. Realistically every grade level should have at least one or two lessons on the meaning and mechanics of praying the Rosary and then incorporate it throughout the year.
Teaching children how to pray the Rosary can be one of the most influential and long-lasting things you do for them all year. Below are some ideas for incorporating the Rosary and the life of Mary in your lessons.
With younger children it is helpful to make a picture, gluing beans or dots or anything round to construction paper as you teach about the prayers and the mysteries.
Another hands-on method is to thread actual beads on a string and make a rosary as you teach and practice it.
Using a coloring page, coloring the beads as you go over the prayers, is yet another way to present the decades. Here are some excellent, free, coloring pages to print.
With older children, you can go into more detail about the mysteries and a short explanation of the stories with each decade. Be sure and include the Luminous Mysteries with your teaching. Many of your older booklets will not have these. You can find them on many sites but this one goes into good detail. Here is a site that goes into more detail.
Older children also like to take turns leading in the Rosary. It makes it more real to them and keeps them involved.
A scriptural Rosary can connect the prayers very directly to the Gospel. Here is a website that can be of great help with a scriptural rosary.
A Living Rosary can be done several ways and have a powerful effect. Each person in a large group can represent a bead and say the prayer for that part of the rosary as it goes around the circle.
Stories of the appearances of Mary can also be added to the lesson. These say much of how the devotion to her and the Rosary have been a part of the Church for centuries.
However you present the Rosary this May, do it with enthusiasm and creativity. Being a rote prayer it can easily seem “boring” to this over-entertained generation of future saints. It is our awesome tasks as Catechists to see that this age-honored prayer remains an exciting part of our worship.
Roselyn Smith is a teacher and the Coordinator for Stewardship Education for Children and Youth at Blessed Trinity in Ocala, FL.