Meet The Rosary Promoter
Immaculate Conception School
"I wanted to provide an opportunity for the students to pray this beautiful meditation on a regular basis so they could carry this with them always into the future."
Diane Tucci is a teacher at Immaculate Conception School of Dardenne Prairie, Missouri in the St. Louis Archdiocese. Ms. Tucci invites her 7th and 8th grade students to spend their lunch hour once a week praying the Rosary and eating with her in her classroom. This simple invitation has turned into a full-fledged Rosary Club and Ms. Tucci is planting seeds of the Catholic faith in her students that will be cemented by devotion to the Rosary. The simple classroom suddenly becomes a sacred space where students find sanctuary during the busy day. Not only do they often experience visual images depicting the various mysteries through the SmartBoard, but also enjoy beautiful chant and instrumental background music for deeper meditation.
What inspired you to invite the students to pray with you?
We had recently opened a sacred space in our school for frequent Eucharistic Adoration, and it seemed like so many students were lacking in their knowledge of the Rosary. I wanted to provide an opportunity for the students to pray this beautiful meditation on a regular basis so they could carry this with them always into the future.
How did meeting this need to teach the students more about the Rosary develop into a Rosary club?
The students voiced the desire to meet more frequently to be able to discuss needs and how the Rosary might be able to help others. We decided to meet during the most unlikely time when any student clubs meet - Fridays after school! Only the most dedicated of students would ever meet during these first hours of "weekend freedom"! But they have met!
During these meetings the students have volunteered to check on the room where Eucharistic Adoration happens. They tidy the room, decorate it according to the liturgical season, and work on creating musical compilations for upcoming Adoration sessions. They have often looked at videos and photos of the Vatican and learned about Rosary experiences in other cultures.
While the club has many goals, their most ambitious is to someday visit the Vatican and experience praying the Rosary together in another culture and language! Since Diane Tucci is fluent in Italian and a seasoned traveler, she has her hopes in leading a group to Rome some day.
How do you use the SmartBoard to enhance Rosary meditations?
I have found so many beautiful images of each mystery of the Rosary and have incorporated these in Power Point slide shows. Often, I will find an incredible picture of Christ and display it during the Rosary. There are several web sites that exhibit a pictorial Rosary with an illuminated bead for each Hail Mary or Our Father. With the classroom lights dimmed, the SmartBoard allows for gentle, ambient lighting and incredible visuals for the students to gaze upon while praying.
Besides praying the Rosary, what activities does your Rosary Club undertake?
Rosary purchased from www.monkrock.com
During this time we have written to others to encourage praying the Rosary, we have been taught how to make corded rosaries to send to people who might need them, and we have begun a "Rosary Campaign" for
one of our members who is undergoing chemotherapy. Through a Teacher of Excellence Grant that I received, I have been able to purchase 30 wooden rosaries that our pastor blessed!
We started the Rosary Club using plastic rosaries, but I loved the idea of each of us being able to hold a simple, wooden rosary to enhance the sensory experience. I want the students to feel the wood and allow their minds to wander to recall the wood of the cross and make all kinds of spiritual connections!
How does this Rosary Campaign work?
The Rosary Campaign is a simple sign up sheet posted in my classroom. Each day a child volunteers to pray the rosary on his/her own for the speedy recover of one of our Rosary Club members fighting Hodgkin's cancer. I send out a reminder each day and even offer a Rosary CD and one of our rosaries to help the child pray at home. We promise to continue this campaign until our dear friend completes her chemotherapy treatments.
Please tell us more about the corded rosaries?
A mother of one of our Rosary Club members volunteered to show the children how to make corded rosaries. Her mother had done this for years and sent them to military troops overseas. Since her mother had become ill, she was happy that we will now continue this for her. The corded rosaries are quite a bit harder to make than it would seem, requiring much patience and nimble fingers. However, they provide a good challenge for our club. We will continue to send these to the military, but hope to branch out to prisons, newly baptized babies, shut-ins within our parish, and the elderly in local senior citizen centers.
How has praying the Rosary together enhanced your school and the students' friendships?
I have noticed students who might not ordinarily work together, now come together and sit side by side at the luncheon Rosary. Students, who have mentioned never having been a part of any club, now feel like they are part of something through our Rosary prayer. They know that they are always welcome, anytime, under any circumstances. The students are actually talking about prayer outside of the classroom too!
You have been quoted as saying, "The power of prayer is phenomenal!" What leads you to make this statement?
This statement comes from the grace of seeing students energized by praying the Rosary to begin to really try to make a visible difference in their classrooms, their school, and their world. I never would have imagined that a simple invitation to pray the Rosary would have led to so many students talking about prayer throughout their day!
Check out Immaculate Conception Catholic School's Website and learn about the other ways this school is promoting faith development, academic excellence, and service to others in future generations of Catholics.
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