By Annamarie Prono
Students from Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Forest Hills, led the congregation in a Living Rosary on the First Friday of October to commemorate the centennial of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Fatima. When the Blessed Mother appeared to the children in Fatima, she asked them to say the Rosary every day, in order to bring peace to the world.
Organized by board members on the Catholic Identity sub-committee of the Academy, Jim Mara and Helen Van Tine Golden managed the collaborative effort with students and faculty to begin October’s traditional dedication to Mary.
The Living Rosary was an opportunity to educate students about the life of the Blessed Mother and Jesus through art and prayer. In his welcoming statements, Mara stated that art and pictures were used to share the stories of faith years ago to people who did not read or write.
Msgr. John McGuirl, pastor, blessed the beads as the students held up rosaries that were handmade and donated by parishioner, Sue Karcher. Each grade received beads in different shades of translucent blue.
Students prepared by learning about the mysteries of the Rosary. Each grade illustrated their interpretation of the mysteries on paper plates. Art teacher, Rudolph Mosca, oversaw and encouraged the creative endeavors as students used paint, markers, crayons and pencils. One side of the plate showed an image of the mystery and the students wrote on the other side. They were strung together with blue ribbon and displayed on the back of the pews for the service
The completed work was hung from the choir loft, where it will remain throughout October.
Eighth graders took the lead and narrated the service, with the fifth graders beginning the Joyful Mysteries, centered on the Annunciation. The sixth graders followed with the Luminous Mysteries, and reflected on the Baptism of Christ. The Sorrowful Mysteries were led by the seventh grade, with the Agony in the Garden. Eighth graders recited the last two decades – first the Resurrection of Christ, and in honor of their upcoming Confirmation on Oct. 27, the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
Afterwards everyone enjoyed a cake decorated with a giant cross in white and blue frosting. Blue cupcakes, chocolate covered fruit, and other delicious treats were also appreciated.
“I had tears in my eyes. The children did a wonderful job,” said parishioner Joanne Hellerich.
Chickie DiCapua, who leads a daily Rosary after the 8:30 a.m. Mass, said, “Oh I loved it. I loved the children. It was beautiful!”
Another parishioner later shared that she went home and found her Rosary beads and is now praying nightly.