Saying rosary as family seen as one way to fulfill Lenten pillar of prayer

Jenny and Kevin Punswick (at far left and in front of window) routinely invite friends and neighbors to join them and their family for a rosary at their house. Erin and Tom Joerger (Erin on couch) and Samantha O’Malley (in foreground at right) were among those who joined them on a recent Sunday. LEAVEN FILE PHOTO BY DOUG HESSE

by Julie Asher

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Tom Lyman, director of Family Rosary, hopes that especially during Lent — which calls Catholics to commit more time to the Lord in prayer — families will pray the rosary together and take part in the ministry’s “At the Foot of the Cross” Lenten campaign.

Family Rosary is part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which continues the mission of Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, known for the adage “The family that prays together stays together.” Because he urged families to say the rosary together, he was aptly dubbed “The Rosary Priest.”

The Holy Cross organization also includes Family Theater Productions, Catholic Mom, the Museum of Family Prayer, Father Peyton Family Institutes and the Peyton Institute for Domestic Church Life.

“The rosary is really an ideal family prayer and a way to fortify the domestic church,” which is the family, Lyman told OSV News.

He suggested family members gather together at a routine time when they can reflect on the mysteries of the rosary, which is divided into five decades. Each decade represents a mystery or event in the life of Jesus. There are four sets of “mysteries” — joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious — in which Christ’s work of redemption, from his incarnation to the coronation of Mary as queen of heaven and earth, are contemplated.

Through these mysteries, “we are walking through the important moments in the life of Jesus and Mary. By doing this we are attending the ‘school’ of Mary’ as [St.] John Paul II said,” Lyman added.

Details of the “At the Foot of the Cross” Lenten campaign can be found at The site has a link to prayers for families and other prayers and a link to sign up to receive a daily family prayer. Other links connect visitors to a “How to Pray the Rosary” guide and additional resources. Parents can sign up for a weekly e-blast and find free ebooks, videos, prayer cards, a Lenten calendar and other materials.

Family Rosary said in a news release all of its ministry centers around the world are participating in the campaign, with materials offered in English and Spanish; some countries are offering other languages as well.

Father Peyton felt prayer “was very important for the family to remain grounded in its relationship with God,” Lyman said.

The priest knew from his experience “of his big family praying the rosary together” that this “formed each member of the family and formed their hearts to love God and love one another and reflecting on those mysteries day after day gave them a language and a way also to see God’s action in their own lives,” Lyman added.

Father Peyton, who is a candidate for sainthood, wanted people to see “the good things and the bad things” that happen “in a context of life lived for God,” he told OSV News. “Once we lose our connection in our relationship with God as his children . . . we suffer and while suffering is a part of life, God wants to give us a way through it and through to the Easter Sunday that awaits.”

Through the rosary, Lyman added, we are “accompanied by Our Lady. . . . Just as she walked with her Son along the Way of the Cross and stood with him at the foot of the cross, she stands with us in our sufferings and strengthens us to suffer well and we know Christ’s sufferings bear fruit in his Resurrection.”

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