As the summer is slowly winding down it is time to look ahead to the coming school year. Learning to read, multiply, and add are all important things to think about in preparing for the next year of learning, but teaching children to pray is possibly the most important. Heads Bowed: Prayers for Catholic School Days by Lisa Mladinich is an important resource that will help any teacher or parent to bring prayer into their classroom.
This book is filled with almost 300 original prayers structured around the Church’s liturgical calendar. There are five prayers for each week of the school year with each week having a specific theme. Each week begins with a Bible verse while each day’s prayer is based around that theme and is dedicated to the traditional devotion of the Church – Monday: The Holy Spirit and the Souls in Purgatory, Tuesday: The Holy Angels, Wednesday: St. Joseph, Thursday: The Blessed Sacrament, and Friday: Christ’s Passion and His Sacred Heart. The first two weeks are prayers for the teacher, parent, or catechist to help prepare them for the upcoming school year, while the following forty-eight weeks are to be said with the children. Vocabulary words are bolded throughout with a glossary to help define them at the end of the book.
I used this resource with my own children at the end of our last homeschooling year. I loved it!! The prayers themselves are very catechistic in nature, spontaneously bringing on many small discussions about our faith. We had the pleasure of using this resource over Lent and Easter and the prayers speak to the children beautifully. Here are some examples for the week of Easter from the book:
“Day 4: Dear Jesus, it’s sometimes hard for us to understand that you are truly present in Holy Communion. That small circle of bread looks so plain and ordinary. Help us, through the intercession of St. Mary of Magdala, to believe that it is really you who appear to us in such an unexpected way. Mary saw you resurrect and then ran out to tell the disciples the joyful news. Fill us with a courageous and lasting joy so our lives will announce your presence to everyone we meet. Amen.”
This handy book offers a wonderful routine to anyone who find themselves struggling with how to pray with their children and is flexible enough to use for those who already do. In addition, the author has magnificently pulled together a way for teachers to incorporate the Church’s feast days, liturgical seasons, and monthly devotions into their children’s prayer life. Heads Bowed is a wonderful resource to anyone who wants to pray with children in the home or classroom, offering inspiration to both!