The novel coronavirus crisis forces Catholic families into togetherness like never before as we struggle to do our jobs, homeschool our children, keep food on the table, and remain healthy in isolation.
In light of the need to survive, family prayer life may not seem the No. 1 priority. But perhaps now more than ever parents and children need the togetherness and crave the soothing peace of praying together.
Indeed, as the generations ride out the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the perfect opportunity to nurture and strengthen our family prayer life. And the good news is that there are many unique free or low-cost resources on family prayer available online and in print.
Without belaboring the many prayer traditions of Catholicism, it’s safe to say that no matter your current relationship to God or your prayer life right now, you will be able to find the perfect way to worship that’s the most comfortable, productive, and fulfilling for you and your family.
In developing your prayer style, you may choose to worship through contemplation, music, movement and dance, the Rosary, speaking or singing aloud, studying Scripture, or reading the lives of the saints – and these are just a few of many opportunities available.
An easy way to begin is to visit catholic.org for a handy list of Catholic prayers. Other online resources for print and electronic books, prayers, and meditations include loyolapress.com, mycatholiclife.com and dynamiccatholic.com.
Beyond the internet, a host of Catholic podcasts, radio and television programs, and electronic ministries make praying both convenient and accessible. I often listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s short podcasts when I’m driving. For long walks and exercise sessions, I tune into my all-time favorite podcast, Abiding Together. While I’m cooking or cleaning, I often sample longer podcast discussions on The Liturgy Guys or Way of the Heart.
Fr. Quan Tran, parochial vicar at St. Bonaventure parish in Huntington Beach, offers a series of thoughtful videos and podcasts through his Marian-centered Fullness of Grace ministry at fullnessofgrace.org.
Bishop Robert Barron’s world-renowned Word on Fire ministry (wordonfire.org) and EWTN-TV (ewtn.com) have extensive online libraries of prayers, novenas, and meditations, as well as livestreaming resources.
As we redouble our commitment to family prayer, Cameron Bellm’s “Prayer for a Pandemic” is perhaps the perfect way to kick off your family’s next worship:
“May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose
lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must
choose between preserving their
health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when
their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have
no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our
margin money in the tumult of
the economic market
Remember those who have
no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a
quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms
around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the
loving embrace of God
to our neighbors.