ST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed church and school activities in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and across the country.
But, determined laypeople and clergy are finding meaningful ways to engage the faithful in these times. One example is the annual Children’s Rosary Pilgrimage that took place Oct. 7 at Transfiguration in Oakdale, Minnesota.
Normally held at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, it was moved to scale down the in-person component. Normally, dozens of schools send their students to the cathedral, with more than 1,000 children filling the church.
This year, only Transfiguration Catholic School students and teachers were in the pews, all wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from one another. Pre-K and kindergarten students at the school watched via livestream, with other schools in the archdiocese invited to tune in as well.
The church was quiet and intimate during the praying of the rosary, with Transfiguration students leading each decade, and Auxiliary Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens leading the event.
He talked to the children about prayer, and urged them to pray to Mary quietly in their pews. Children responded with bowed heads and closed eyes, clutching rosaries they either brought from home or received from school staff.
The event began with a procession of Transfiguration students who brought roses and placed them in front of a statue of Mary in the sanctuary. Bishop Cozzens was joined by the pastor of Transfiguration, Father John Paul Erickson, and Deacon Dan Brewer, who is assigned there.
Before the rosary, Bishop Cozzens led Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and Jenny Ubl, a Transfiguration parent and singer, sang “Ave Maria.”
Principal Andy Jacobson said it was “such an honor to have Transfiguration host (the event). And, I told the singer (Ubl) that ‘Ave Maria’ touched my soul today. It was just an amazing experience, and we’re so happy that everyone could listen from Transfiguration Catholic School.”
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Hrbacek is a staff writer for The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.