|Kindergarten student Nazariy D. with the icon he carried on behalf of his classmates|
In the past, St. Nicholas School (the school that eventually became Immaculate Heart of Mary School in 1962) held an annual “Crowning of Mary” ceremony every May. Since the custom of Mary crownings has fallen out of vogue in recent decades, IHMS has replaced it with a different form of veneration – a prayer service and rosary walk.
|This year marks the 16th consecutive year that IHMS has initiated a prayer service and rosary walk for Mary in May. This year it was held on Friday, May 19, about a week earlier in May than last year. The prayer service began with students and staff gathering in the school gym at 9:00 a.m. immediately after the morning’s opening exercises.|
|Myles C., the student council president, led the procession by carrying the school’s large icon of the Blessed Mother in the 16th annual Rosary Walk for Mary|
As usual, the students sat on the floor facing a temporary altar that was set up in the center of the gym. The altar held various statues and icons of Mary that were collected from prayer corners from each of the different classrooms.
|The top photo shows the altar that was set up in the gym for the prayer service. Each grade brought a statue or an icon to be carried in the procession and placed it on the altar. The bottom photo shows Mr. Picklyk addressing the staff and students shortly after opening exercises.|
With the students quietly sitting on the gym floor, Mr. Picklyk welcomed everyone and began the prayer service by projecting images of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the gym wall. This was followed by projecting the words to the song “O Maria”, which the students sang.
|Mr. Picklyk projected the words to the song “O Maria” (in Ukrainian) on the gym wall|
|Sister Anne Pidskalny, SSMI then read a passage from the Gospel According to Luke about Mary’s visitation from the angel Gabriel (the photo to the left depicts a Byzantine era icon of the Angel Gabriel). The passage described Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she will be giving birth to the Son of God.
Next, two grade 7 students, Chantel M. and Owen Z., read a set of petitions, after which everyone replied: “Oh Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us”.
|Sr. Anne read from the Gospel of Luke about the Blessed Virgin Mary’s visitation from the angel Gabriel (top photo). Grade 7 students Chantel M. and Owen Z., read a set of petitions for the prayer service (bottom photo).|
Since everyone was gathered for a Rosary Walk, most students brought their own rosary beads from home. Mr. Picklyk spent a few minutes talking about how to pray the rosary – 10 “Hail Marys” followed by an “Our Father”. Students who forgot to bring a rosary from home were told that they could keep track by using their 10 fingers.
|Before starting the Rosary Walk, the kindergarten class sang a prayer to the rest of the students|
Mr. Picklyk then called a preselected student from each grade to approach the altar and receive either an icon or statue of Mary. These students had volunteered to carry an icon or statue while leading their class on the walk around the school.
The procession began with the Kindergarten and grade 8 students (who paired up together), followed by the grade 1 and grade 7 students (who also paired up together), followed by the rest of the grades. Myles C., a grade 8 student, led the procession with the school’s large icon of the Blessed Mother.
| The procession moved:
1. Out of the side door of the gym
|Students praying the rosary while walking around IHMS twice|
Basically, the students walked through the playground and around the school twice. The entire walk lasted about 10 minutes. During the walk, the students recited the rosary, and continued to do so for 2 complete laps around the school.
|Some of the IHMS staff members praying during the walk|
After the second lap, everybody filed back into the gym to finish off the rosary and to sing “Ava Maria” as a closing hymn.
|Students reassembled back in the gym after the walk|