Mary visits link students and parishioners

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Home > Media > News > Mary visits link students and parishioners
Mary visits link students and parishioners

Lessons on the importance of Mary and the rosary are creating even closer ties between several of Tasmania’s parishes and schools.

Fr Leo Zenarosa MLCC and the local Legion of Mary have been visiting St Paul’s Catholic School in Bridgewater since May to spend time with the students, share about the importance of prayer and teach them the rosary.

Principal Jo Clark says the parish and the school – which are on the same grounds – already have a ‘nice connection’, but that the monthly visits are continuing to build those relationships.

Both the students and teachers are responding well to the visits, says Mrs Clark.

“When we’re talking about the rosary, it’s something that a lot of children don’t have an experience of much anymore … so it’s nice for the children to see that and be part of that.”
The faith of Sr Carmel Hinkley RSM (who is present at the school three days a week) and the teachers is evident to the students, according to Mrs Clark, who says that having visitors also witnessing to their faith “adds another layer of people who are passionate about their faith”.

“If you can expose the children to that, then that’s actually helping them develop their own faith,” she said.

For Fr Leo, the rosary and catechesis sessions are a spiritual addition to involvement in sporting activities at the school.
Sheila Smith, the president of Bridgewater’s local Legion of Mary, visits the school with Fr Leo.

She says the students are ‘energetic and responsive’ to the visits, which run no longer than 30 minutes.

“The rosary is very important because it is the Mother of God that we’re talking about, and it’s the life of Jesus,” she said.

At St Aloysius Catholic College in Kingston, members of the Legion of Mary associated with Kingston-Channel Parish occasionally visit classes during May and October.

Acting Religious Education Coordinator for the college’s Kingston campus Julie Osborne says that the visits – which include giving each child in a class a set of rosary beads and a pamphlet on the traditional Marian prayer – are meaningful for the students, and often tie in with what they are learning in class about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

“[The Legion of Mary members] have such wonderful knowledge and the children have the opportunity to ask them questions,” Mrs Osborne said.

She says the physicality of the rosary beads enables the students to relate to the prayer.

“They take [the rosaries] home and the children have actually said to me things like: ‘I keep it on my bed-end … or I’m going to keep them in a special spot.’

“… The children and parents have both commented to me in the past that the children do use them at home.”

For other children, it sparks a connection with a special set of rosary beads they might have been given by an elderly family member.

“It’s really bringing in that connection between home and being given these special rosary beads from someone in their family, and their purpose and what they’re used for.”

Mrs Osborne had hoped to invite the Legion of Mary to visit her Prep class in the lead up to Christmas.