The rosary in the pocket at St. John Bosco

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Student leaders and their chaperones from St. John Bosco pray during the all-school Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral Jan. 30. The liturgy is a traditional part of Catholic Schools Week celebrations. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Student leaders and their chaperones from St. John Bosco pray during the all-school Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral Jan. 30. The liturgy is a traditional part of Catholic Schools Week celebrations. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

You’ve heard of the cross in your pocket, the little charm and card that serves as a way of reminding its bearer of the Catholic faith. Well, St. John Bosco’s liturgy committee has been passing along what it’s calling “The Rosary Pocket” as a way to inspire traditional Catholic devotions during this Year of Faith. Each classroom and the staff has a unique bag that carries the rosary. At least one of them includes a small space to share the prayer intentions of the class. Here is what happens “when two or three are gathered…”

The Rosary Pocket
By Holly Forseth, school parent

The Rosary Pocket arrived home in my first grader’s backpack in October. A small burlap sack with a picture of Jesus, his hand placed over his sacred heart, was secured to the outside. It was both simple and beautiful. Excited to share the contents, my son grabbed the bag and we settled onto the couch.  He first pulled out a brightly illustrated pamphlet: a children’s guide to saying the Rosary. Next, he revealed the beaded rosary, colorful and classic. Finally, a small notebook appeared: a space to share the prayer intentions of the class.

And so we began, our first Rosary said together as a family.

the rosary pocket (courtesy photo)

the rosary pocket (courtesy photo)

For Mimi Condon, a staff member at St. John Bosco, and her family, the Rosary Pocket also made its way into their home in early Fall. While the family was gathered in the kitchen that evening, Mimi realized they had yet to say the Rosary together. She promptly joined her 5-year-old child, who was playing on the kitchen floor, and asked her teenager to lead them in prayer.

As they prayed, her husband joined his family, and their 17-month-old son toddled over, curious as to what they were doing. He found a comfortable spot on his mother’s lap, settling his little hand on the rosary. As the decades passed, this toddler sat more quietly than he has ever sat before or since, fully engaged in prayer.

The Condon family discovered that even when it seems there is no time for prayer, the Lord brings his family together.

Arabella, a first grader at St. John Bosco, had an Uncle who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor over a year ago. This past Christmas, the family spent significant time together and Arabella noticed that her Uncle Wayne was unable to care for himself anymore. She saw the sadness in his face and approached his side. With his hand in hers, she told him “Tio Wayne, I am going to pray the Rosary for you tonight so that you can get better…ok?” Unable to even speak, Tio nodded his head and smiled. Arabella quietly went to her room, rosary in hand, and began to pray.

That night, Arabella’s uncle slept more peacefully than he had in weeks.

Earlier in the year, the Liturgy Committee at St. John Bosco Catholic School met, searching for an idea that would help the school community’s faith grow during this designated Catholic Year of Faith. One member shared her powerful and prayerful experience with the Rosary and the idea of the Rosary Pocket was born. A unique bag was created for each classroom and another bag was presented to the Staff, enabling every member of the St. John Bosco Catholic School community to participate in praying the Rosary throughout the school year.

When the St. John Bosco Liturgy committee introduced the Rosary Pockets to their school community, they could not have known the stories that would be revealed. Their only hope was that this one prayer, which is truly Catholic, and truly powerful, might help their families grow in faith.

The Rosary Pocket assigned to my son’s classroom had already visited the homes of over half of his classmates when it arrived in ours that first night. We only made it through a single decade, but it was a start. The Rosary has entered our family’s prayer life.

Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes in his recent apostolic letter that we are called “to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” (Porta Fidei, 2). We have seen, through sharing the Rosary Pockets in the St. John Bosco Catholic School community, an increase in students’ desire to pray. The spread of God’s peace and love is happening. During this Year of Faith, our journey with Christ is being renewed.

Many thanks to the school parent who shared this story on the feast of St. John Bosco, patron of school children. Bio on EWTN.

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