We Hold a Treasure, Let’s Share It! – By Anita M. Foley, MA – Senior Sales Representative

When I was a child, I grew up in a home with both my parents and grandparents. I shared a bedroom with my sister and each night, as I drifted off to sleep, I heard my grandparents praying the rosary together. Every time we set out in the car on a family vacation, my parents led us in a prayer asking God to grant us a safe journey. Other devotions surrounded me as I grew in my Catholic faith. Our family went to Stations of the Cross on the Friday nights of Lent, and we celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly. We participated in our parish May crowning and attended Eucharistic Adoration and parish missions. Throughout my life, Catholic prayers and practices have been an essential part of my journey of faith.

As faith formation leaders, it is important to help catechists and parents realize the importance of sharing with our children and young people the rich tradition of the prayers and devotions of our Church. Catechetical leaders should identify strategies whereby this vital dimension of our Catholic faith can be shared and experienced by our young believers.

It is important to encourage catechists to utilize the prayer resources contained in their basal religion books to help children learn our treasured prayers and practices. Highlight the importance of allotting time during their lesson to engage the children in the prayer service provided in each chapter of their faith formation book. These weekly prayer experiences help students learn the many forms and styles of the Church’s prayer life. If your community is culturally diverse, provide catechists with prayer and devotional ideas that respect the heritage of their families.

Offering opportunities to celebrate devotions in a community setting is a great way to bring families together. For example, host an Advent event when families come together to create an Advent wreath for use in their home. During Lent, gather families together in church to walk and pray the Stations of the Cross. Sponsor a “Mary Day” in May to celebrate our Blessed Mother as a woman of faith; include the praying of a decade of the rosary during the experience.

Our Catholic community is blessed with a richness of treasured prayers and practices that can support a deepening of faith within all believers. Let us continue to share and experience them in our parish and school communities.

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Anita M. Foley is a senior sales representative for RCL Benziger, serving the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Metuchen and Paterson, New Jersey.

Anita holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Religious Education from Seton Hall University. She has also attended Immaculate Conception Seminary, South Orange for continuing post-graduate education and formation. Before joining RCL Benziger, Anita taught in Catholic elementary and high schools. She also served in ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark and in parish ministry as a: Director of Religious Education, Pre-K Religious Education Program Coordinator, and Director of RCIA and Adult Faith Formation. Articles written by Anita have been published in Today’s Parish, Catechist Magazine, and Word on Worship. She is currently a workshop and retreat facilitator, and serves as a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Newark.

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