Spanish rosary at St. Mark’s

It was fiesta time in St. Mark’s Church in Peoria last Friday afternoon, as Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, joined students, staff and parents of St. Mark’s School to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe by praying the rosary in Spanish.

Bishop Jenky had received letters from St. Mark’s seventh grade Spanish class, inviting him to join in the school’s prayer service and festivities.

“The bishop is asking all Catholics in the Diocese of Peoria to join him in a special ‘Year of the Rosary’ next year for the spiritual renewal of our diocese, and he has asked Catholic parishes and schools for creative ways to promote this,” said Father Charles Klamut, pastor of St. Mark’s Parish, as he welcomed everyone to the rosary service.

The Spanish rosary service, organized by the school’s Spanish teacher, “Senora” Becky Lemont, was St. Mark’s response to Bishop Jenky’s request that Catholics begin to prepare for the rosary year, Father Klamut said.

“‘Muchas gracias!’ from the bottom of my heart,” Bishop Jenky said as he thanked the students and teachers for inviting him.

“You are the treasure of the diocese. You are the future. You are the folks that sure give your bishop an awful lot of hope,” the bishop said.

Because the feast this year fell on a Friday, the day of Christ’s crucifixion, the assembly prayed the five Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, using a Spanish rosary prayer book provided to everyone as they came into the church. The service concluded with the hymn, “De Colores,” led by the fourth grade class.

A reception followed at the school, but not before the St. Mark’s students had presented “spiritual bouquets” to Bishop Jenky, to Father Klamut, and to Father Joseph Mwinzi, an African priest in residence at the parish.

The “bouquets” were large rosaries that were created by the seventh grade class under the direction of Terry Mischler, director of religious education for St. Mark’s Parish.

The rosary service was “inspirational,” said Steve Hagenbruch, St. Mark’s principal. “I thought the kids did a great job. The bishop was very kind and gracious as usual. Becky Lemont did a great job organizing it.”

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