Traditional Prayers: Family Heirlooms

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be taking aside each student and checking to see if he or she has taken to heart (memorized) a certain number of traditional Catholic prayers as spelled out by the parish curriculum. Before I do that, however, I plan to explain to the young people the importance and the value of knowing traditional prayers. Kids sometimes think that memorizing is a waste of time. But taking to heart (I don’t like to call it memorizing) traditional prayers is like taking care of a family heirloom. We can pray using words that millions have used before us. There are times in our lives when we can’t find our own words to pray. At such times, we can call on traditional prayers. Likewise, traditional prayers make it easy for us to pray together as a community, allowing our minds and hearts to be joined through common words.

What role does taking to heart certain prayers and doctrines play in your catechesis?

About Joe Paprocki 2747 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

2 Comments on Traditional Prayers: Family Heirlooms

  1. Hello,

    I am happy learn of a like minded person on this point.

    I ask my CCD 6th graders to write the three basic prayers of the rosary. I do this after reviewing the prayers word by word as they look at the prayers in print in the text book. I then ask them to close the book and I dictate the prayer and they write it out.

    Here’s a common mistake:

    Are father who aren’t in heaven. Of course there are many other errors, e.g.hollow for hallow, stay for this day.

    My effort is based on a belief that one cannot teach what is not known. As future parents, these kids will be incapable of the most basic prayer instruction for their children. Those who can “say” the prayers often mumble and slur words such that when I insist on slow and clear enunciation it becomes clear that the student could not teach the prayer to anyone else.

    We have an urgent need in catechesis. We need to start a program of instruction for parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers.

    Best regards,

    Christ the King, Chicago
    Perhaps we can say hello on Jan 17.

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