The Family Rosary

An old tradition that seems sadly lost in today’s world. A vehicle for families to pray together in simplicity and faith.

Childhood memories

Of the old farm house kitchen.

The men fed and settled

After a long day of toil.

The women finishing up

After their own labours.

Grandad, without a word,

Kneels by the range.

Even the dogs sense the mood:

The family rosary begins…


A seemingly garbled chant

In double quick time.

The hypnotic cadence:

Haly mary… holy mary…

Ireland, 1960s,

Catholics praying in tongues???

The evening rosary

In time honoured fashion.

And I, child, watching

Their faces in the fire’s glow.


For a child, Sunday Mass

Might be tedious ritual,

But I did not begrudge

These minutes given to God.

Simple, unadorned liturgy,

Heart-sensed, beyond words.

To the junior heart,

Precious exposure to the sacred.

This nightly gathering

Of my own dear folk.


Did this shared prayer

Give me the Treasure?

That sense of God

Which appears so rare

Among my generation?

The old people

Are largely gone now,

And the sacred flame

Seems dimmer today

Than memories of then.


What have we lost?

What have we lost,

With our modern wisdom

And enlightened pride?

And our children?

What will we bequeath?

We had the foundation,

But did we build the house?

Is it too late tonight,

To begin the rosary again?