Balloons over Bethel Park signal start of Rosary month
The colorful array of balloons flying high over St. Thomas More Catholic School signified the start of a special month.
October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary in the Catholic Church’s liturgical year, and the school in Bethel Park celebrates each year with an aerial display.
“We have a pretty involved PTG, and those women volunteered their time to put that together,” Joe Rosi, St. Thomas More principal, explained. “They actually put it together in the gym and walked it all the way down.”
They took the Rosary bead-resembling arrangement onto the school’s athletic field, where a couple of parent-teacher guild members held onto ropes to keep the balloons from floating away, a task that was harder than it looked on the mildly breezy morning of Oct. 6.
Meanwhile, students filed out of the building onto the field, many joined by family members. Led by religion teacher Stephen Mahler, those in attendance prayed the Rosary.
“It’s a nice focal point, especially for the little kids,” Rosi said about the display. “You can talk about why the balloons are different colors and why there’s a cross at the end of it. It really is just as much of an instructional tool as it is a faith-based exercise.”
This October, Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has encouraged praying the Rosary for peace, which is being integrated with the St. Thomas More curriculum.
“We go to Mass every Friday,” Rosi said, “and the Mass intentions will be given for peace around the world. We’re also talking about those things in social studies, about the conflicts that are going on everywhere.”
The school also is having homeroom Rosary sessions that include opportunities for students to ask questions. Plus Mahler, who instructs sixth- through eighth-graders, is making use of technology.
“Leading up to this, to teach the kids about the Rosary, he joined a virtual online community, projected it on the Smart Board, and then the students were praying with people across the world at the same time,” Rosi said. “And the kids think it’s cool.”