.- It’s teaching three-year olds to pray the rosary. Two-year olds are surprising their parents by reciting the sign of the cross in Spanish. Parents nationwide are singing the praises of a new tool for teaching prayer to the very young. Holy Baby! Seven Prayers in Seven Languages is a DVD created by Boulder, Colorado couple Wayne and Dede Laugesen, two journalists and parents who have decided to devote their time to producing what prominent Catholic author Jeff Cavins calls “a marvelous tool for families.”
Using colors, toys, bright lights and music, host Baby Scholastica, an animated baby dressed as a nun teaches her young viewers to pray the seven prayers of the rosary, each time in seven different languages - English, Spanish, French, Latin, Vietnamese, German and Portuguese.
The use of different languages, said Dede Laugesen, is to “enhance language development as well as to emphasize the universality of Catholicism.”
The Laugesens began the Rosary Project Inc., which produces the DVDs in response to Pope John Paul II’s 2002 call for Catholics to teach the rosary and other prayers to their children. The birth of The Rosary Project coincided with the Holy Father’s instituting of the Year of the Rosary.
“I believe that because we were created to be in relationship with God and because prayer is the language we have been given by our Lord, that even the smallest hearts will respond well to the sound and expression of prayer”, Dede Laugesen told CNA.
The video has been likened to the Baby Einstein and Baby Genius series for its use of colors, shapes, bright lights and music to draw young viewers into its unique content.
Dede Laugesen told the Denver Catholic Register in 2003 that, “The Holy Father has said we should embrace technologies available and use them for promotion of the Gospel.”
So far, the DVD’s, aimed at children under 5, are being carried at nearly 500 Catholic retail stores across the country with plans to grow. But the Laugesens said that it’s been word of mouth that has played the major role in the video’s popularity.
They cited the “many, many calls and letters we are receiving from satisfied customers whose children so love and benefit from Holy Baby! that they now want to help us get this DVD into more homes of families with small children.”
Because of the huge success of the first Holy Baby!, the Laugesens recently announced that a second DVD is now in production. Holy Baby! Family Feast-Prayers and Songs from the Eucharist is expected to be released sometime this summer.
The new video will focus on exposing youngsters to the parts of the Mass, and like the first Holy Baby!, present the prayers and songs in many languages. It will also feature two new characters to accompany Baby Scholastica; Baby Bosco and Baby Imelda.
The Laugesens, who are proud parents of four boys, aged 1 through 9 have garnered huge praise for their work from many around the country, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.
He called the videos “a beautiful aid for families who want to begin their children on a walk with the Lord.”
Holy Baby! Family Feast is the second of a planned series of five videos in the works for production over the coming years. Added Dede Laugesen, “I love the work the Lord has given us.”
More information on the Rosary Project can be found at www.TheRosaryProject.com.