OLIVIA Hunt thinks the Rosary is “a good way to start the day”.
The Year 4 student at Mater Dei Catholic Primary School, Ashgrove, along with the rest of her class would know, having spent each Friday morning in October with a parish volunteer, praying and learning about the mysteries of the Rosary.
Mater Dei assistant principal for religious education (APRE) Tanya McNeill introduced the idea to the school and parish about four years ago, and works with St John’s Wood The Gap parishioner Mary Johnson who co-ordinated parish volunteers.
Mrs McNeil said volunteers, mostly members of the Legion of Mary, worked with the same class for about 30 minutes each week and, by the end of October, had formed a strong connection with their students.
She said Mater Dei had a strong Marian heritage.
“This was a Marist Fathers parish and they named the school Mater Dei which means ‘Mother of God’ so when I became the APRE I wanted to lift the profile of our devotion to Mary,” she said.
Mrs McNeil said students learnt a different set of mysteries each week along with the associated Rosary prayers.
“The class teachers tell me what time during the week suits them then I give that to Mary and she tries to round up a different volunteer for each of the classrooms,” she said.
This is Vi Hall’s first year as a volunteer.
“I was happy to do it because Mary our Mother means a lot to me,” she said.
She said by the end of the four weeks “her” children’s recitation had improved “in its spontaneity”.
Ms Hall said she would like to see other parishes and schools implement the idea.
Olivia said she had learnt some new prayers from praying the Rosary – “such as the Glory be to the Father”.
“I enjoyed praying the Rosary,” she said.
“I sometimes pray it before I go to bed.”
Fellow Year 4 student Lilly Ryan has also enjoyed the weekly Rosary.
“I think it’s a good idea that we pray the Rosary every week,” she said.
“I’ve learnt all different prayers and I’ve learnt that you can be happier with the Rosary, like if you pray the Rosary you can have a better day.
“I think that everyone is much more happier if they pray the Rosary.”
Henry Harris said he may pray the Rosary at home in the future.
“Maybe before dinner-time or something,” he said.
“It’s a good thing to pray to Mary.”
Mrs McNeill said all Year 3-7 classes participated in the October Rosary lessons that forged a closer link between school and parish.