Monday, May 7, 2012

The Family Rosary: Gain a plenary indulgence without leaving home!

The revival of the Rosary in Christian families, within the context of a broader pastoral ministry to the family, will be an effective aid to countering the devastating effects of this crisis typical of our age. […]
The family that prays together stays together. The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together. Individual family members, in turning their eyes toward Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God. (Bl. John Paul II, Rosarium Virignis Mariae, nn. 6 and 41)
What a grace the family Rosary is for the Christian home! And yet, with all the demands of modern life, how can an ordinary Catholic family begin the practice of the daily Rosary?

[Please consider our May prayer-Campaign for the Family Rosary (here), join us on facebook (here)]

The Plenary Indulgence attached to the family Rosary
On any (and every) day of the year, the faithful who have attained to the use of reason (which includes even children and young adults) may gain a plenary indulgence once per day by the recitation of the Marian Rosary either in a church or oratory or in a family, religious community or gathering of the faithful. (Enchiridion of Indulgences, Grant 17.1)
Five decades of the Rosary suffice to gain the indulgence, remembering that “devout meditation on the mysteries is to be added to the vocal prayer.”
To gain the plenary indulgence, the three usual conditions must be met:
1) Sacramental confession (several days before or after, such that monthly confession suffices for a daily plenary indulgence)
2) Eucharistic communion (one communion for each plenary indulgence, several days before or after)
3) Prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (traditionally, the Our Father and Hail Mary, but any prayer suffices)
Additionally, one must not be attached to any sin, not even venial sin.
A thought on the family Rosary
While it is true that the family Rosary requires a great deal of sacrifice, the indulgences which the Church attaches to this devotion prove how valuable it is. How rare it is for a plenary indulgence to be granted on any and every day of the year, without even leaving the home!
Further, upon reflection, we can see that the Church desires that even children (from the age of seven) participate in regular confession and frequent (even daily) communion.
Indeed, many children have no real “attachment” to sin, not even venial sin. How many graces these young ones can gain through daily Mass (when possible) and confession every two or three weeks! If a family is praying the Rosary daily, it would be most beneficial to get the children to Mass regularly (together with at least monthly confession) – the children in such a family will be true warriors in the spiritual combat.
Two helpful articles for dads and moms
For dads (but beneficial also for moms), I recommend an article by Taylor Marshall of Canterbury Tales. He gives twelve tips for praying the family Rosary [here].
For moms, I recommend an article by Leila Lawler of Like Mother, Like Daughter. She summarizes her post well in the following words: “Wondering how to start [the family Rosary]? In ‘if I can do it, so can you’ fashion, I will tell you.” Read her article [here]!
I know it is hard, but don’t be discouraged!
Finally, I do know that it is hard to start the practice of the family Rosary. Whether a young family with little children or an older couple whose children are all grown with families of their own, there are always difficulties in starting the family Rosary.
If five decades seem to be too much, surely at least one decade is possible. And, if even one decade of the Rosary is beyond our capabilities, I must insist that every family can at least pray three Hail Mary’s!
[At least on Saturday’s, we should strive to pray five decades of the Rosary as a family. On other days, we remember that something is better than nothing –one decade is better than no decades. Don’t let yourself become despondent, but entrust all things to the Blessed Mother!]
Indeed, it would seem to me that, if a family said even three Hail Mary prayers daily (with devotion), our Lady would bless that family abundantly! Surely, a decade with devotion will lead to five decades over time (if only we persevere).
So, don’t be discouraged! Ask our Lady for help. With her assistance and the divine grace, all things are possible: Even the family Rosary in YOUR family!

In the comments, please feel free to provide links to other articles which you find helpful in regard to the practice of the family Rosary.


Anonymous said...

"Additionally, one must not be attached to any sin, not even venial sin."
I have always wondered what this means exactly. Is it even possible to be completely detached from sin in this life?

Mrs. O'Riordan said...

I have to say it alone as the family would not join in - I say it with others on line would that suffice to obtain the indulgence? This is the site I use - - it always tells you how many people are praying with you at that time - Blessings - Rene

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

1st - Please use a pseudonym at least.

2nd - You do ask a very good question.
Yes, it is possible to have no attachment for sin, not even venial sin; though I doubt it is possible (in this life) to avoid sin all together.

Consider the following words from St. Francis de Sales (Introduction to the Devout Life, book I, chapter 22):
"We can never be altogether free from venial sin,--at least not until after a very long persistence in this purity; but we can be without any affection for venial sin."

And he continues with an example:
"It is altogether one thing to have said something unimportant not strictly true, out of carelessness or liveliness, and quite a different matter to take pleasure in lying, and in the habitual practice thereof."

I hope that helps!
I will be writing more on this in about a week. +

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@Ms O'Riordan,
I do not believe that an internet community can count for the plenary indulgence ... still, it is nice to know that you are united in prayer with others!

What I might recommend, if you cannot pray with family, is to pray the Rosary daily in a church ... for this is another easy way to gain the plenary indulgence.

God bless you and give you perseverance! +

Dismas said...

When it comes to the Family Rosary or exploring Marian Devotion in general, Dr. Taylor Marshall at Canterbury Tales never disappoints:

Mrs. O'Riordan - I wasn't aware of, cool site. Another association where you can always pray the rosary with others, even when without internet access, is membership in The Universal Living Rosary Association of St. Philomena:

siralacron said...

This past week (4/30-5/6/2012) My wife and I have just started to pray the rosary daily before going to bed. I always try to say the Rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory or for my wife's grandmother who has cancer. When you say the Rosary for someone's intention is there a special way to ask for this grace? I do not wish to offend my wonderful Jesus or his glorious mother.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

I would recommend a very simple and trustful petition to the good Jesus through Mary ... simply put these petitions before the Heart of Jesus in the Heart of Mary, with great confidence in God's Mercy.

And let the Holy Spirit provide you the words, when needed. (more than many words, we need great humility and trust)

God's blessings to you! It is wonderful that you and your wife pray the Rosary daily! +

Clinton R. said...

May all Catholics be faithful in praying the Rosary. A most powerful spiritual weapon against Satan! +JMJ+

amator Dei said...

Many generations of Catholic children were bored out of their skulls by the family rosary. The mechanical repetitive churning out of endless prayers was a big factor in turning them off religion for life, and who can blame them? Enforced religion does not keep families together, it is more likely to drive them apart.

Anonymous said...

My husband and me are praying one decade of the rosary daily for one year now. But it seems we cannot get our two sons(grown-ups, but still living with us) to join us. How can we convince them without being "pushing"?


Fred said...

As a father of 10, I endorse the family Rosary in the strongest terms, and only wish I could do so with the charm and grace of Father Peyton. We have done it for years now, and the Rosary has transformed our family. Before that we recited one decade each night along with our family prayers, and only did the five decade Rosary in May and October. Friends of ours inspired us to recite the five decade Rosary every night (with reasonable exceptions due to circumstances), and it is and has been an incomprehensible blessing to us (and hopefully for all for whom we pray).

Sherry said...

May I suggest doing allows even the youngest to participate. And pray for your child in front of them, then ask them if they have anyone or anything they need to pray for.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@amator dei,
Who here has suggested that the Rosary be prayed in a mechanical and mind-numbing way? My goodness! That would indeed be a terrible thing!

Rather, if you take the time to read the two articles recommended above (from Marshall and Lawler), you will see that the Rosary need not be so dry and dull.

You have obviously been deeply wounded some way or another ... but don't blame the Rosary for that ... have the courage to face your struggles head-on, rather than deflecting them onto the devotion of the faithful. +

Anonymous said...

I am in a mixed marriage, and unfortunately, this is not possible for me. I sing the pater noster, and ave maria to my kids every night before they go to sleep, but that is the most cooperation I will get.

A Mitchell said...

Dear friends of ours started saying their family rosary in the morning, as it was the only time they could all attend. That said, there were some that set their alarms for an early hour, joined the rosary and went back to bed.
Yes, they pushed. Yes, they also prayed reverently with candles lit on the Marian altar to help concentration.
We are humbler and less holy. We serve coffee and occasionally chocolate croissants. Check your calendar for feast days!
Even non-catholics can fall in love with the rosary. I am a convert and secretly longed to have those beads and know how to pray with them

amator Dei said...

I have not been wounded at all and am not struggling with anything I want to deflect onto others. I did read the articles and find them unhelpful. Your advice is patronising and insulting. I was not brought up on family rosary, but do sometimes use the rosary myself in a slow contemplative way. I was recounting what has been the experience of many people, especially in Irish Catholicism where quick-fire rattling off of rosaries is still commonplace. I encountered it just the other day in a church in Donegal. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who pray like this, but it is foolish not to acknowledge that it is a big turn-off to others. For young people to suggest we should pray the rosary spells instant boredom. See the comment by Alan, which is probably much more nearer to most people's experience.

Asif said...

I am afraid I must agree with amator, you do not need to be wounded in any way to find the rosary less than ideal, no matter how good your intentions. For many especially children it will be boring, because it's long and repetitive. The rosary is a wonderful gift to the Church, a great tool for those with the temperament, but for many it will (and always has been) a square peg for a round hole, which is why it is abused.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

@Amator and Asif,
Well, no one here was ever recommending that the Rosary be "rattled off" in a "quick-fire" and "repetitive" fashion ...

To dismiss the family Rosary simply because some pray it poorly would be like dismissing food simply because some people eat too quickly ... a very silly thought indeed!

Asif said...

Hello Father

Respectfully I will have to disagree with your statement that I dismissed the Rosary in any way. I wish merely to point out the obvious that it is not for everyone (and "everyone" is not a small minority). The statement at the top of the Blog "The Holy Rosary, by age-old tradition, has shown itself particularly effective as a prayer which brings the family together." is definitely over egging the pudding. That's the main thrust of my comment.
Its part of our tradition, people pray it because it greatly enhances their prayer life. But people also pray it "to be Catholic", people pray it purely to gain Indulgences, people pray it because its expected of them, people pray it because they are cultural Catholics, people pray it because otherwise a Priest will call them silly or wounded.
Apologies but this is just the reality I'm afraid. Can the Church offer us alternatives for our family prayer life's please. What did we do before the rosary, has anything else been thought of since ?.

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Amator spoke as though it is impossible to pray the Rosary in any way which is not "mindless repetition", and then he blamed the Rosary for the destruction of family life ... then you said, "I must agree with amator" ... well, if that isn't dismissing the Rosary (and throwing the baby out with the bath-water) I don't know what is.

Is the Rosary for everyone? No, probably not. Certainly, the Eastern Catholics have their own traditions ... and these are to be respected.

Is the Rosary one of the main ways that the faith has strengthened family life in the West over the past 500 years? Yes, absolutely!
Is the Rosary the primary devotional prayer which has saved Christian families in the West for the past 500 years? Certainly!

Now, does every family need to pray the Rosary? Perhaps not ... though I have a hard time seeing how anyone could have a problem with speaking to Mary while meditating on the mysteries of Christ's life (which is all the Rosary really is, after all).

And there ARE alternatives (I am surprised you haven't heard of them) ... Litanies, the Psalms, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, etc. ... but the great advantage of the Rosary is precisely that it is so versatile and can be prayed in so many different circumstances and surroundings.
While hardly anyone has the Litany of the Sacred Heart memorized, even many children can recite the Rosary from memory.

The statement -- that the Rosary is the most effective prayer in the West for holding a family together -- is not "over egging the pudding", it is a simple statement of fact ... one which Bl John Paul II himself has asserted many many times.

Answer said...

To the person asking how her 2 grown up sons may join in prayer:

- they have to understand why to pray

I do believe praying comes from a generous and loving heart to help others and God

Anonymous said...

do u have to do the 3 usual conditions to gain plenary indulgence in saying a family rosary, and can a husband n wife be said to be a family.

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