Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Rosary Captains: A Busy Homeschool Mom’s Tip for the Family Rosary


Wish you could pray the family Rosary without making it seem like a chore? Suzanne Tombs explains an easy solution: commission your ‘Rosary Captains!’

Your goal: save the world…

AKA: Survive one more day of homeschooling with no major mishaps or meltdowns.

The mechanism: pray the Rosary.

The challenge: assemble the family for prayer each day without making it seem like yet another chore.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is top priority, but you cannot accomplish it alone. You will be assisted by the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother, of course.

Your secret weapon: Rosary Captains!

Mary has repeatedly asked us–as at Lourdes and Fatima–to pray the Rosary. She has also made beautiful promises to those who pray the Rosary, especially in groups. So, what better group than the family?

The Rosary has been one of my personal favorite prayers for a long time, but transitioning the prayer from my own silent spiritual oasis to a communal event in our home was trickier than I anticipated. Corralling a household of distracted ‘tweens, busy teens, and tired parents into the same place at the same time with a prayerful disposition felt like roller skating up a hill. In the rain.

Thus, ruining the prayerful disposition.


That is until a little inspiration came thanks to the intercession of St. Dominic or St. Bernadette, no doubt: Rosary Captains!

By designating each member of the family as Rosary Captain on a revolving basis, responsibility for the call to prayer shifted from (boring old) mom to the whole family.

Now we’re talking!

1. Rosary Captain Responsibilities

So, what does a Rosary Captain do? He or she is in charge of assembling the family for the Rosary:

  • The Rosary Captain must rally the troops, inviting each family member to prayer. If people are busy, a ten-minute advance notice of the start time could be helpful.
  • The Captain picks the time –maybe first thing in the morning to help start the day works best. Alternatively, right after dinner when everyone is already at the table. Perhaps just before bedtime, as the day becomes quiet.
  • The Captain picks the place. Dining room table? Living room couches? Outside on the porch under the sun or stars?
  • Each day’s Mysteries are announced by the Captain: Joyful Mysteries on Mondays and Saturdays, Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesdays and Fridays, Luminous Mysteries on Thursdays, and Glorious Mysteries on Wednesdays and Sundays.
  • The Captain may suggest special prayer intentions or invite others to share their intentions.

Even the youngest members of the family could hand out Rosary beads and select an assistant to lead the prayers. Artistic Captains might provide a poster or coloring pages of the different Mysteries to enhance the devotion. How about dimmed lights or soft, meditative music in the background?

It’s up to the Rosary Captain to set an appropriate spiritual mood.

2. Commissioning your Captains

Determining the responsibility of Captains could be done in several ways, depending on the makeup of each family. A family of four, like ours, might just designate one set of Mysteries to each person. When your day of the week arrives, you are in charge.

Maybe all family members’ names go into a hat, with one selected each morning. Imagine the fun if Dad reached in and drew a name with a big flourish to make the announcement, (drumroll, please) “Today’s Rosary Captain is….!”

Captain status could also be a special privilege. A child’s birthday might bring the honor of being the day’s Captain. Being selected might be tied to doing a particularly good job on a school or home project, or as a pick-me-up for someone having a rough day.

Even when the world’s demands pressed in on our family and we were running short on time or enthusiasm, I found I only had to smile and say, “Who’s the Rosary Captain today?” as a gentle reminder. No more barking orders, or (Heavenly Father, please forgive me) “You better get yourself down here right this minute!” threats.

Another minor miracle in my life!

3. The Debriefing

Regardless of the method, the result is the same: family members equally share in responding to Mary’s exhortation to this beautiful prayer. Rather than Mom nagging to do something, each member of the household takes a leadership role and sets the spiritual example.

What a great lesson to teach at home, so it can be practiced out in the world as your flock grows up!

Additionally, an educational goal is reached. Everyone learns the individual prayers that comprise the Rosary, the proper order of the prayers, all of the Mysteries, and the days designated for each Mystery.

Ultimately, a fantastic purpose is achieved. A family is united in prayer, examining some of the most pivotal points of our faith from the perspective of the Blessed Mother. Beginning with Jesus’ incarnation, birth and young years in the Joyful Mysteries, we progress to some highlights of Jesus’ public ministry in the Luminous Mysteries. Through the Sorrowful Mysteries, we focus on His Passion and death. Finally, in the Glorious Mysteries, we get a glimpse of Jesus’ triumph over death and sin, the Holy Spirit’s presence in this world, and our Blessed Mother’s role as Queen of Heaven and constant help to each of us in interceding with her son.

Beautiful mission accomplished!

About Suzanne Tombs

Suzanne is a wife, mother of four, jack of all trades and master of cookies. Homeschooling with Seton has been a blessing and an education for the whole family, not just the "students!"

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