By Jessica Easthope
Many students at St. Francis Prep are holding rosary beads in their hands for the first time.
If you’re new to it, it can be intimidating. Once you make the sign of the cross – you’re on your way to saying 67 prayers in total – 53 of them are Hail Mary’s. It might sound basic, but a lot of people do it wrong.
“You’d be surprised, there’s a lot of particular things different cultures do, certain prayers people throw in or some people leave out so we just want to give our kids the broadest explanation possible of this is exactly what the rosary is, this is the basics of our faith and what we do,” said St. Francis Prep chaplain Father Ralph Edel.
Every Thursday during October, the month of Our Lady of the Rosary, Father Ralph teaches classes about the prayers.
“In terms of what goes wrong sometimes you have people who think just because they’ve prayed the Hail Mary a million times in their lives they have it down pat so just teaching them to have that concentration in the midst of prayer and really doing our mission which is to teach them how to pray,” he said.
The level of familiarity with the rosary varies from student to student. Junior, Gabriel Harris is just learning.
“I never really prayed the rosary on my own and I was sort of confused but I came to these classes and Fr Ralph was able to teach me and honestly it makes me feel a lot more comfortable because I know what I’m doing right,” Gabirel said.
There are four mysteries of the rosary and each mystery contains five moments in the life of Christ and our Blessed Mother represented by the beads in between each decade.
Emma Bogdan has been saying the rosary since she was little but proves you can still slip up.
“You have to keep trying at it, as a young woman who’s a practicing Catholic it really helps me feel closer to Mary,” she said.
Fr. Ralph says once the students get past memorization all that’s left is Mary.
“That’s really that second level of prayer you hit and that’s where you want to go, so we’re not concentrating so much on the words but getting to the point where we feel comfortable enough with our Blessed Mother to say I want to give to another intention that’s the next level we’re trying to get all of our kids to,” he said.
The goal is to show students the beauty of the rosary is not what happens while you’re praying it but how you live after.