By KATIE BORKOWSKI
DENISON – Kneeling on both knees and making the Sign of the Cross, St. Rose of Lima students began adoration for the first time in the new Houlihan Chapel on Oct. 23.
The chapel is in the new St. Rose of Lima Education Center, which is between St. Rose of Lima Church and the parish center.
Each grade spent about 15 minutes in adoration. Father Randy Schon, pastor, blessed the students with the monstrance as they began to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Carolyn Von Tersch, director of religious education, read Scripture and played a Christian song while the students were in the chapel.
“It was part of Father (Paul) Kelly’s plan when they were designing the education center to have the chapel connected,” said Lyndi Steger, who is in her first year as principal at St. Rose. “We are starting at once a quarter for adoration, but that might increase as they become more comfortable.”
For a few weeks prior to their first experience, the students started learning about adoration. They will continue to learn about adoration during religion classes and faith formation with Father Schon and Von Tersch.
“It is a very simple part of the day, but I feel like it is important and really unique for elementary kids,” said Steger. “I don’t know that that happens too often in elementary schools. I think it is a good experience for the kids to start to understand – finding quiet time with the Holy Spirit is comforting and safe.”
Steger explained the students did very well and didn’t need much direction from their teachers.
“It says a lot when they can come in, kneel and find their place with God,” she said. “Whether they open that up to journaling or drawing or however they want to find their quiet space during adoration, that will be a personal experience for them.”
Steger said the amount of time the students are in adoration in the future may be extended “as they are capable of understanding that time and how to have more discipline with their prayer.”
On Thursdays, the parish holds adoration from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Houlihan Chapel. The Clarence and Kathleen Houlihan family donated money towards the new education center.
In addition to adoration, the fifth graders take three minutes each day to pause and silently pray.
“If they allow themselves to talk to God and listen for God, he is there,” said Steger. “If there isn’t that quiet time during the day, he would be hard to hear.”
New building, uniforms
Not only is the chapel new to the students, this is the first year for them to be in the education center. Steger pointed out the students, teachers and staff are still adjusting to the new building and the new procedures.
“Going to recess, storage situations, emergency drills, duties, phone system, doors and everything that comes with a new building, have had to be worked out,” she said. “Everyone feels blessed. This wasn’t something they ever anticipated.”
Steger noticed the students are excited to be in the new building.
“Every day they come in with smiles,” she said. “They have their own lockers and big new classrooms. We have new Smart Boards and 20 new Chromebooks.”
The teachers, Steger pointed out, are extremely grateful for the convenience of it “being connected to the lunchroom/gym and the church.”
The students are now wearing uniforms, which is new for them. They wear blue or red polo shirts with khaki or navy pants. Other options are also available when the weather is warmer.
“The uniforms have gone over really well,” said Steger. “The kids all look fantastic – sharp and ready to learn.”
Part of the morning announcements are to remind the students to make sure their shirts are tucked in.