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Grade 4 student Hayden K. with the icon he carried on behalf of his classmates
Praying and honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May has been a Catholic tradition for hundreds of years. This devotion to Mary is especially meaningful to IHMS because of her prominence in the school’s name, and in the order of Sisters who own and operate the school.

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Sister Ruth Aney is the only member of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate currently working at IHMS. In the above photo, she is giving a set of rosary beads to one of her kindergarten students.


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.


 Student council president Donovan M. carried the school’s large Byzantine inspired icon at the front of the Rosary Walk for Mary


This was the 17th consecutive year that IHMS has initiated a prayer service and rosary walk for Mary. This year’s prayer service was held on Friday, May 18 with students and staff gathering in the school gym at 9:00 a.m.. immediately after the morning’s opening exercises. pinkbvmright


The school’s new custodian, Mr. Trochanowski, quietly and reverently praying the rosary


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 everyone assembled in the gym.


With the students quietly sitting on the gym floor, Mr. Picklyk welcomed everyone and began the prayer service by projecting the words to the song “O Maria”, which the students sang.


The words to the song “O Maria” (in Ukrainian) on the gym wall


The Angel Gabriel
Sister Ruth Aney, 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 8 students, Donovan M. and Jessica K., read a set of petitions, after which everyone replied: “Oh Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us”.


 Sr. Ruth read from the Gospel of Luke about the Blessed Virgin Mary’s visitation from the angel Gabriel (top photo). Grade 8 students Donovan M. and Jessica K. read a set of petitions for the prayer service (bottom two photos).


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.


Three grade 6 students playing a musical instrument called a glockenspiel


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.


Students carrying icons for the grade 6 and 7 class


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. Donovan M, a grade 8 student, led the procession with the school’s large icon of the Blessed Mother.


In the procession around the school, kindergarten students paired up with grade 8 students while the grade 1’s paired up with grade 7 students


Since there was a drizzling rain outside, the walk took place inside the school. This was the fourth time in the past 17 years that the walk took place inside the school – it usually takes place outside and around the school. The last time the walk took place inside the school was in 2011, also because of rain.


The procession moved out of the gym, along the downstairs hallway, up the back stairs, along the upstairs hallway, and then down the front stairs. During the walk, the students recited the rosary, and continued to do so for 2 complete laps around the inside of the school. The entire procession took less than 10 minutes to complete.


Donovan M., the student council president, led the procession by carrying the school’s large icon of the Blessed Mother in the 17th annual Rosary Walk for Mary


As student and staff formed a line and moved out of the gym to begin the Rosary Walk, something inevitable happened – everyone became less synchronized as the group spread out


After completing two laps around the inside of the school, many students seemed to be at different points in the rosary. However, the prayers quickly synchronized again once everyone reconvened back in the gym. The effect of approximately 250 staff and students reciting the rosary together was very powerful and very inspiring! The service ended with everyone singing “Ava Maria” as a closing hymn.


 At the end of the rosary walk, students returned to the gym for a final hymn


Christian Programming on the Radio
A Winnipeg radio station, CKJS, plays  various Christian programs each weekday from 9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. CKJS can be found at 810 on the AM dial.




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