Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Make Heart Rosary Decades to Pray for Others

"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

This Lenten season, I have resolved to pray the rosary with my children, at least several times a week.  I am always thinking about new ways to keep my children interested in the rosary, so we are going to focus our prayers this season on loved ones.  Each time we pray, we will think about a family member or friend who needs our prayers, or for whom we wish to pray.

I am hoping this will enable us to sacrifice our time with more prayer, to consider how we can help those we love by praying for them, to help them by performing good deeds, or to dedicate acts of kindness to them.

My children don’t have much patience for the rosary yet, so we usually only pray one or two decades at a time.  Last month, we made a rosary decade out of simple materials: long pipe cleaners and pony beads.  

I placed the pony beads on a small plate to keep them from rolling off the table.  My four year old strung the beads (she put 12 instead of 10, but I’ll explain how that works later).

Then, I formed the pipe cleaner into a heart shape by bending the ends over each other at the top of the heart and made a loop out of curling ribbon.  My daughter added four beads to the curling ribbon before I tied the loop.  This gives us the starting place for the rosary, so we can use one bead for the opening prayers, three for the opening Hail Marys, and then move onto the beads in the heart shape.  This also gives us a convenient way to store the rosary between uses.

The extra 2 beads on our decade rosary represent the prayer to Our Lady of Fatima and the Salvation prayer (often part of the rosary when it is prayed in Spain), which we pray to close our rosary when we say only one or two decades.  You could also make a full rosary this way by stringing beads on five hearts and linking them together before you close the pipe cleaners.

While I was preparing for this post, I also thought about another way to mark our rosary prayers during Lent.  I drew a heart on a paper plate, and drew circles to represent the Hail Marys around the heart, as well as reminders for the other prayers to create a visual to mark the decade.  

In a previous post, I suggested marking your progress through the rosary on a tabletop with beans or pasta or other small items.  Creating a pattern on a plate to mark with objects as you go gives smaller children a visual to follow along, and can offer them variety during rosary time.  A quick an easy version could also be made using heart shaped paper plates (maybe you will find some on clearance after Valentine’s Day) and round or heart shaped stickers.

With our heart shaped decade rosary and our heart rosary plates, I hope we will remember to face Lenten prayer time with love this season.

We may also try the rosary prayer sheets designed by my friend Jennifer at Catholic Inspired; these sheets include images of the mysteries and also contain a pattern to mark progress through the rosary.  In another post, she shares great tips for praying the rosary as a family.

Welcome to those of you visiting from the Keeping Love in Lent Blog Link up and Follow Frenzy.  I look forward to your comments about whether you think this type of rosary aid might be useful for your family.  Also, do you find your children are able to think about others during prayer time, or do they tend to focus on themselves (what they want, how they need help, how they will do penance)?

Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.

Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow! 
Equipping CatholicFamilies: Keep LOVE in LENT

Building Rocks (pending)
Coffee Moments With Sam: Alot about Love...

In 2014, I am linking with: What are you doing this Lenten Season?

In 2013, I linked with: CatholicBloggers Link up Blitz, Faith Formation in Young Children, What are you doing this Lent?, Better Mom Monday, Welcome Home, Saints and Scriptures Sunday, Motivational Monday, Tactile Tuesday, Kids Get Crafty, We Made That, For the Kids Friday, Weekly Kids Co-op, New Evangelists Monthly

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  1. Hi Elisa, I like your idea of drawing a heart and making circles around it as a visual aid. Even though children have small hands I think it can be hard for them to "work the beads" of a rosary. I have not tried to make one out of a pipe cleaner yet. I have used Monica's flower petal rosary with my first graders and I will divide up the petals. They take turns placing a petal down and lead the Hail Mary. It works great! Monica from Equipping Catholic Families is awesome and her craft works wonderfully!

  2. Visiting your blog as part of the Keep Love in Lent event…

    Great ideas here! Your decade rosary with beads and pipe cleaners would be fun to do with one of my catechism classes. Simple enough to keep their interest, and interactive too! Thank you for sharing this inspiration. Blessed Lent to you and your family.


  3. !!!!!!!

    As a CCD Instructor, I legitmately go psycho happy when I come across simple yet poignant ideas like this. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I've got a ton of pony beads, myself, so I've been trying to figure out ways to "get through them" and this is BRILLIANT! No pipe cleaners - yet - but what a great, inexpensive way to teach the power of prayer for others.

    Wow... seriously, I can't thank you enough for posting this. I'm going to let the teachers of the younger grades in on this page - thank you!!!

  4. What a great idea. I love the pipe cleaners idea.

    Thank you for joining in with Motivational Monday

  5. What a great idea for the kids to make their own rosary hearts. I'll have to try it and see if it will hold their attention better and help them to follow along.

  6. That is fantastic!! I may need to hire your daughter to make me a few :)
    I admire crafty people, because I am definitely not!

  7. Those heart rosaries are so sweet. What a great way to make it easier for the children.

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  8. I LOVE the pony bead idea. My children and I struggle with doing the rosary because what is supposed to be a prayerful time often becomes a painful one with "bored" kids and their hands. Rosaries have even been known to become swung objects. Tike! This pony bead decade might bring some new interest and focus for a bit. THANK YOU

  9. I love the hand-made rosary hearts! So precious! I'll have to remember that for my classroom and future children. God bless you!

  10. Thank you for sharing these great ideas! :) We also pray just one decade since the kids are still young. But I hope to be able to pray the whole Rosary with them soon. :) Thank you, too, for joining the link-up! God bless you and yours always! :)

  11. This is *awesome*! Thank you so much for sharing -- I'm always looking for ways to help my little ones with the rosary. Have you seen these?


    I purchased these awhile back and have yet to try them out. But I think they might be a good help, as well. We'll see!


  12. Busting out the pony beads today. I need simple ideas for praying the Rosary with my kiddos, and this hits the spot. God bless!

  13. That is such a CUTE idea! My kids love making rosaries and I love how easy this would be for them to make and to use. Thanks for sharing!

  14. This would be a great Little Flowers craft for Valentine's Day next year. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I love your Rosary decades with the pipe cleaners and pony beads! I posted a Rosary craft too (with a free printable)...it's a prayer and mystery counter! http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/2013/02/revolving-rosarywith-free-printable.html

    1. I have already downloaded your Rosary wheel Monica; we are planning to try it out soon. Such a great idea!

  16. this is so cute! this link up has inspired me to be more creative with my kids!

  17. I appreciate everyone's supportive comments; I am so happy that you all like the idea enough to try it. I do hope you will let me know how useful these are (or not) for your family or classroom after you try them out.

    Also, thank you to those who offered other ideas for helping children pray the rosary. At our house we need to try lots of different prayer aids to ward off boredom and stay focused.


Your feedback, reactions, and ideas are appreciated!

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