Aside from what the students of Holy Family Elementary were about to take part in Friday afternoon, there was one thing in particular Karen Bieker hoped would turn out well — the weather.
As it turned out, the temperature in the 70s made for perfect conditions to enjoy a celebration.
“I’ve been praying ahead for favorable weather,” said Bieker, the preschool teacher at Holy Family. “God definitely gave us that gift of a beautiful day.”
There was barely a cloud in the sky as students from each grade filed out the doors and into the parking lot on the east side. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Appearance of Our Lady of Fatima, the school took part in a Living Rosary. It is an event the school planned to recognize.
It was just a matter of when they could all do it together with the end of the school year approaching and a number of other events on the schedule.
The actual date of the anniversary is May 13. It was then, in 1917, when an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the first time to three children tending to their flock at the Cova da Iria, near Fatima, Portugal. It was one of six times she would appear to the children. The final time was Oct. 13, 1917.
Holy Family Elementary Principal Rachel Wentling asked Bieker if she would organize the rosary.
“When it was proposed to me that it was the 100th anniversary of Fatima, I said, ‘I can not not do this,’ ” Bieker said. “ ‘I have to do this because I have such devotion to the Blessed Mother,’ and what better way to do it than to honor her. It was a huge undertaking to get all the children organized grade-wise and color coded, and it was just a lot of things.
“(The students) were well-prepared. We’re at a Catholic school, so they know the rosary well.”
Bieker, who had help from other teachers in organizing the event, staged a practice Tuesday in the school gym.
“We had signs on the wall where to get them to stand,” Bieker said. “Everything was just organized.”
When the children came out from the school, they formed a large circle in groups. The students who led the prayer associated with their position in the Rosary were selected by their classroom teachers. A microphone was passed from each student leading the prayer to the next.
“It went very well,” Wentling said. “What a beautiful day to have this, and it was so well-organized.”