How and where to gather the children
The children shouldn’t be approached classroom by classroom, but gathered in a spacious hall or in a gym or chapel; outdoors only if there isn’t the possibility of gathering them in an indoor room.
Elementary school children are normally divided into age groups: for example Grades 1 and 2 in one group and 3, 4 and 5 in another group, etc.
Kindergarten children should be approached separately, in one or more groups, at the most, 100 at a time.
Distribution of rosaries and leaflets
The rosaries must be distributed to the children as they enter the gathering place, and are to be placed around their necks in order to prevent them from playing with it during the encounter. They will be told to hold it in their hands at the end, when they will be taught how to say the Rosary.
The leaflets with the mysteries of the rosary are to be distributed when the priest or someone else finishes talking, after the consecration, otherwise the children will be distracted and will read instead of listening.
Arrangement of children
If there are chairs, fine. Otherwise the children will be invited to sit on the floor or stand up, well lined up by class. The smaller children must be arranged in the front rows and behind, followed by the older children.
At the moment of the consecration, when they are invited to say their “yes”, they must all stand up.
You must immediately identify children who cause problems and isolate them with the help of their teachers.
Duration of the encounter
Every encounter must be finished within an hour and include:
- The narration of the facts and the invitation to consecration. This first part must not last more than 20 minutes, otherwise the children will lose their enthusiasm and won’t say their “yes” with the necessary participation.
- Explanation of how to pray the rosary, of which only the first decade of the mystery of the day is recited, inviting the children to continue on their own.
- The invitation to make small sacrifices, especially of not watching TV and/or of not playing with videogames for at least a week, is done at the end. Conclude by giving the blessing with the statue of Our Lady and with the invitation to send her a kiss; followed by a song to Mary, choosing the most well-known (first ask a teacher) so that everyone can participate and then an applause.
If available, it is a good idea to leave every class with a picture of Our Lady of Fatima, asking the teachers to frame it and put it up in their classroom.
According to our experience, especially when there are many children or when you are talking outdoors or when the acoustics aren’t good, we suggest that you be as concise as possible; you can leave out the apparition of the Angel and/or the example of the rosary given to explain the meaning of consecration.
During the expositionplease keep the order of the topics just as they are cited in the text.
It’s important to stimulate the children’s attention and for this purpose it’s a good idea to involve them by prompting some answers, which we have suggested, where there are dots.Before every encounter, pray to your Guardian Angel so that he will get in touch with the children’s Guardian Angels and open their minds and their hearts.
A note for those who devote themselves to this mission:
Have a good mission! And thank Mary for choosing you for this apostolate which is the simplest but most effective. You will feel in your souls a Strength and a great Joy which the Spirit will send you by means of the children: it is the Father in Heaven’s “thanks” which smiles at you for having allowed Him to take full possession of His children with whom He will fight and overcome the last battle against the eternal adversary:
“From the mouth of infants and nursing babes
You have established strength against Your adversaries,
to make the enemy and the revengeful cease”. (Ps 8, 2-3)