Sometimes, it’s better to let children do the teaching.

That’s what Jan Richard did for her second-graders at St. Mary-Basha in Chandler Oct. 12. She saw an Our Lady of Fatima play as the perfect vehicle for allowing the child saints to model the faith for her students while Richard encouraged them in memorization, team work and social skills.

(photo courtesy of St. Mary-Basha School)

“In a Catholic school setting, there is hardly anything better than teaching students, in play form, about saints through our rich Catholic heritage,” Richard said.

Students portrayed the Fatima seers, Mary and others. Most of the young learners encountered the saints for the first time while rehearsing the play.

(photo courtesy of St. Mary-Basha School)

Second-grader Nicole Stafford learned that her character, Jacinta Marto, died very young. Anna Lucchi, one of the narrators, described the play as “holy.” The part about the children going to jail stuck in her mind.

Scarlett Olivares, who played Our Lady, learned that she should teach more people how to pray the rosary.

Madeline Seybert, who played Lucia dos Santos, later “Sister,” vowed to “pray at least a decade of the rosary everyday until I am older when I will pray the whole rosary.” She also learned that her saintly character was 97 when she died and was the cousin of the other two Fatima children.

The class sang at the end of the play, which moved people like Annisa Pongratz to tears, and not just because she was proud of her child.

“I have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and I just hope that all the parents and family members that were present were as moved as I was,” she said.

Principal Tiffany Seybert described the play as “a beautiful way for our families to see the true fruits of their sacrifice to send their children to St. Mary-Basha Catholic School and Preschool. Our students learned more than just about Our Lady of Fatima, they learned that at any age bad things can happen, but that Our Lord and his Mother, Our Mother Mary are always with us and will protect us as long as we are faithful.”

(photo courtesy of St. Mary-Basha School)