Learning Prayers in Three Languages: Latin for very young children
In the Rolling household, we are raising bilingual German-English children, so you might think we are happy enough with two languages. Well, we are also Roman Catholics, and as such we wish our children to learn the language of the Roman rite, that is, Latin. Mrs. Rolling is also a proponent of the immersion method or the “real language approach“, so we wish our children’s first exposure to Latin to be within the context of the Church and prayer life.
For these reasons, we learn our Catholic prayers in Latin, German, and English. The morning offering and meal prayer are said in English at breakfast. The Ave Maria and Benedic Domine are said at Lunch, and the GegruBet seist Du, Maria and Segne, O Herr are prayed at Supper. By doing all the prayers in each language, they associate each language and thereby come to the meaning of the new language quite naturally by already knowing it in two other languages. The children can explain the meaning of the Latin prayers in relation to German and English without us having ever opened a Latin textbook.
Imagine their potential! When they do begin to study Latin grammar, they will already have a good supply of Latin vocabulary and thereby “real” grammar examples from the Latin language as well. Deo gratias!
A great resource if you wish to start learning Latin prayers in your household is the pamphlet above, Praying with the Universal Church. This pamphlet includes the prayers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that Pope Benedict XVI said all Catholics should know in Latin.