Last year, our local Catholic homeschooling group had a lovely Our Lady of the Rosary feast day celebration complete with a cupcake rosary, crafts, balloon release, and more.
This year, we opted to combine our celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary’s feast day with a kick off for a new initiative we are beginning: a Works of Mercy club.
The two-for-one event was simple, yet meaningful. We met for a picnic on the grounds of Holy Cross Family Ministry’s headquarters where we were welcomed by staff and offered an impromptu lesson from Father David on how a cause for sainthood is put forth.
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Then, I chatted with the children about the history of the Our Lady of the Rosary feast day and read them Holy Heroes’ version of the story of the Battle of Lepanto. While I was reading, some children opted to color Holy Heroes coloring pages about the event.
As we wrapped up our faith-based history lesson, we chatted about how one person praying the rosary is beautiful and powerful, but many people praying it together is even more powerful. We wondered what would happen if our Holy Father asked all Catholics to come together in the modern day to pray for a single cause. We agreed that, unfortunately, many folks might not respond, but, that if they did, wouldn’t it be miraculous!?
I, then, transitioned us into discussion about the Works of Mercy. I explained to the children that we had not only gathered to celebrate Our Lady of the Rosary’s feast day, but also to inaugurate a new Works of Mercy club for our homeschool group. We hope this club will grow organically, offering us at least monthly opportunities to gather together to learn about and practice both Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
I asked the children if they knew what each of the Works of Mercy is and suggested that they might begin Works of Mercy notebooks at home to journal about their personal experiences as well as about our club gatherings. I then explained that I’d brought along the makings for a mini-book with thanks to Look to Him & Be Radiant with Joy that the children might wish to put in such a notebook to help them remember the Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Together, we cut, assembled, and began to color our own Spiritual Works of Mercy booklets as we chatted about how we already practice each of the works in our daily lives and how we might practice them further as a group. Of course, the work of praying for the living and the dead was an easy one for the children to imagine doing as a group. Just steps away was an outdoor rosary walk – the walk we had come to the grounds to pray at in celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary’s feast day.
Thus, after a brief play break, we headed over to the outdoor rosary walk. Along the walk were columns that had reliefs of Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Luminous mysteries on them, which would allow folks to walk back and forth four times along the walk praying all the mysteries of the rosary.
Our group, however, opted to pray only the Joyful Mysteries together that day.
After the opening rosary prayers, each child that wished to do so, led us in a decade. Before doing so, the leading child announced a heartfelt intentions for the living or the dead and led a brief mediation and prayer related to the specific mystery we were to mediate on for each particular decade.
Once we completed praying the rosary together, our group stopped by a statue of Father Peyton, where I explained to the children a bit more about Fr. Peyton’s work and the cause for his sainthood.
Then, we went inside the Father Peyton center for a brief tour, prayer in the chapel, and stop by the gift shop.
With that, things wrapped up. Or, rather, began. I cannot wait to see what gatherings await our Works of Mercy club.
I'd love to hear about your experiences teaching children about the Works of Mercy and putting them into action together. Please share in a comment or on our Training Happy Hearts Facebook page.