Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Stations of the Cross and The Joyful Mysteries (Holy Heroes)

The Stations of the Cross from Holy Heroes is an hour long CD that contains two versions of The Stations of the Cross on it. Unlike other recordings, this one is by kids and for kids. Yes, you will hear an adult narrator for some of the introductory material, but that's about it. I admit that the adult in me wanted the narrator, Jim Morlino, to do the whole thing as he has a great voice. (It reminded me a bit of Mr. Whitaker from Adventures in Odyssey for any former Protestants out there.) However, your kids would probably space out if it was just another adult talking and praying, and this is a CD for kids.

For starters the kids are very reverent and speak clearly. I wasn't sure how it would fare with them doing the bulk of the praying, but they did a fine job. I really enjoyed all the background noises. It would be considered something similar to a "dramatic reading" of the Bible. If you close your eyes, it's like you're there. I LOVED that they included the Stabat Mater at the end of every Station in the longer version. I'm a big fan of that tradition with praying the Stations and the voices singing it were beautiful. I appreciate that each Station is on a separate track for easy navigation. I also loved the Introduction and How to Pray Opening Track, as it makes for a perfect resource for school, homeschool, or Sunday School. However, one thing did bug me about the Introduction. It says something to the effect of you start The Stations of the Cross with an opening prayer. However, they don't have this opening prayer in the longer version (or else i missed it). You can hear an opening prayer in the shorter version for radio, but then you don't get the Stabat Mater. So that's one of the few, if only things I would change about the CD. If your kids need a book to pray along with there is a prayer book available here and a coloring book for the younger ones here! Overall this was a great CD though, and I highly recommend it.

The Joyful Mysteries also from Holy Heroes is the first of four CDs released by them, which teaches your children to pray the Rosary. Like The Stations of the Cross, this CD is recorded by kids and for kids. Though, I'm not sure of the age range for the children praying, it definitely goes from young to tween or teenager. Each Mystery comes with an introduction and Scripture meditations. That means that before every Hail Mary, you and your family will hear a verse or two related to the Mystery. This is a true Scriptural Rosary! The entire Rosary takes about 30 minutes to pray, which is standard, and at the end is a brief history lesson about The Miracle of Lepanto and the role of Rosary in this naval battle.

At times, some of the younger children are hard to understand. You, the parent, and your kids probably know the words to the Hail Mary, but if you are using this as a teaching tool, it can be a bit distracting and unhelpful. I'm conflicted on the inclusion of the Spanish version being included on this CD. On the one hand, it's cost-effective and can be used by both English and Spanish speakers. On the other hand, I wish they had done an abbreviated version of the Rosary, like they did with The Stations of the Cross. This would be especially helpful for younger children who can only sit still for 15 minutes and not a full 30 minutes. If not a shorter version, perhaps they could have included two sets of Mysteries per CD (like Joyful and Luminous on one and Sorrowful and Glorious on the other). Had they done this, they still would had to have make 4 CDs (2 for English and 2 for Spanish), but families would only have to buy 2 CDs, not 4. This is still a great family CD worth investing in, and I will definitely look into completing my set.

Be sure to check out other great selections from them, including Glory Stories, which tell about different Saints and some of their DVD movies, like the new Inside the Sacraments: The Holy Eucharist! I'll be reviewing a Glory Story and the DVD I just mentioned on my blog soon. Also, be sure to check their site daily for their Deal of the Day, where you can get some of their great products at a better price! These CDs were provided to me for free by Holy Heroes in exchange for an honest review.