To commemorate Pope Francis’ attendance at the World Meeting of Families this coming September and to honor parents’ roles in educating their children about the faith, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia have compiled a book of family prayers.
Their collection, “A Short Guide to Praying as a Family,” will be published on March 19.
“During his papacy, Pope Francis has spoken a lot about the family and its role in society,” said Sister Mary Agnes, O.P. “Last October, there was the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, there’s another one to follow it up this coming fall, and he’s also visiting Philadelphia in September for the World Meeting of Families. He’s talked about the different ways in which the family is under attack and what can be done to strengthen it. We’ll be sending a few of our sisters to the meeting in Philadelphia, but we don’t know exactly how many yet.
“As Dominicans, our apostolate is teaching, and we see parents as the primary faith educators of their children,” she said. “So, for the past year, we’ve been compiling this book to help families strengthen their prayer life.”
The book is the fruit of many years of the sisters helping parents strengthen their roles as the spiritual leaders of their households.
“Over the years, we’ve given retreats for parents to help them grow in their faith and share it with others,” Sister Mary Agnes said. “During these retreats, we’ve talked to them about effective ways to help their prayer life with their spouses, with their children, and with their families as a whole.
“We really wanted to equip them to bring Jesus into their families, into their workplaces, and into their parishes. The book came out of all of that,” she explained.
The Guide, compiled by the Sisters and a few laypeople, will contain some traditional prayers and some recently written ones.
“Many of the prayers are traditional, such as the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, and Hail Mary; and what they can teach us about the faith. There are sections on the Divine Mercy Chaplet and how to consecrate your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” Sister Mary Agnes said. “We also have some modern ones, such as ones to say before sporting events and any other events a family has on a given day. There is a guide to each of the seven sacraments. And we have tips on how to make a good Confession and how to get ready for Mass.”
The book is 176 pages long, with 135 of them containing illustrations. “The book has beautiful stained glass pictures throughout,” Sister Mary Agnes said. “We hope all our readers, especially children, can appreciate them and see visual representations of the mysteries of our faith.”
She hopes readers come to a deeper appreciation of the richness of the Church’s prayer life and help their families appreciate it as well. “I really hope that readers have a greater understanding of the richness of Catholic traditions and prayers and use that newfound appreciation to help their families grow closer to Jesus,” she said.
Copies of the book are available for sale with a 20 percent discount at the sisters’ online bookstore at nashvilledominican.org/bookstore. The book can also be bought through amazon.com, Tan Books, and St. Benedict Press.