Divine Inspiration

Sept. 22-28, 2005
Divine Inspiration
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Students at St. Charles Borromeo School produce a CD

The idea for students at St. Charles Borromeo School in Syracuse to create The Five Luminous Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary CD got its start when parent volunteer Lisa Smith was listening to the rosary on a CD while vacationing in Florida last April. She thought, “The rosary means so much to me, I’m going to do this.”

She approached Sister Donna Driscoll, MFIC, principal of St. Charles School, and third grade teacher Dru Pellizzari with the idea of the students’ producing the CD as a fundraising effort. Both Sister Donna and Pellizzari were receptive to the idea. “If we get an idea like this, it was God that put it there,” said Pellizzari. “We need to run with it.”

Smith said Sister Donna thought the CD should be dedicated to Pope John Paul II. “It’s a wonderful tribute to Pope John Paul II,” remarked Sister Donna. “I thought he was very charismatic and loving. He did a lot for the world and he loved children. This is our way of paying tribute to the author of the Luminous Mysteries. We believe in keeping a lot of the symbolism of our faith, including our devotion to Mary. During the month of May, we do the rosary with the children in the classroom. We feel Mary plays an important part in our church.”

Reflecting on the creation of the CD, Smith said, ”The production of the CD was a way for us to bring the rosary back to the families,” said Smith. “It’s a powerful way to pray.”

Local musician Todd Hobin was hired to record the CD, and on June 16, he set up a studio-like area in St. Charles Borromeo Church to record it. A total of 144 children gathered close to the altar and sang into microphones to produce the CD. The children were excited when they saw the microphones and recorder set up in the church. Smith said that it only took 20 minutes for the children to produce the CD.

Fifth grader Michael Dufresne liked the experience. “It was kind of cool to do a CD,” said Michael. “I’ve never done one before and I thought it would be fun to do. I liked praying the rosary.”

Even though the students were excited about making the CD, they were on their best behavior. “Sister Donna was in awe of the way they were so well-behaved,” said Smith.

Hobin thought making the CD was a great idea. “I realized right away that this is a keepsake that the families will always have,” he said. “I love it when the community does something like this.”

The CD begins with grades kindergarten through six singing the song “I Am the Light of the World,” with third grade teacher Dru Pellizzari accompanying them with the guitar. The students recited the rosary against a background of piano music played by Hobin. Grades kindergarten through second sang “Hail Mary,” accompanied by Donna Kowadla on piano. Other teachers from the school assisted in directing the students during the recording of the CD. After the first 20 minutes of the CD, Hobin performed a meditative melody on the piano.

Taylor Nunez, a sixth grader at St. Charles School, said she was awed by the experience. “It felt special because we had never done anything like that before,” said Taylor. “To be a part of it was really cool. It was nice that we all did it together.”

Second grader Denise Pruitt felt the same way. “It felt special to me, too,” said Denise. “It was a good moment because we were all there together. My mom, who is in heaven now, heard me and was looking down at me.”

Smith sent the CD to Bishop James Moynihan when it was completed. “After Bishop Moynihan listened to the CD, he sent a letter back, saying that he was just thrilled about it,” she said.

Smith sent order forms for the CD home with the students last week. The CD will also be sold in the back of St. Charles Borromeo Church on the weekend of Sept. 17-18. Additionally, the CD will be sold at the Carousel Mall on Dec. 3.

Smith is very pleased with the outcome. “This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done,” she said. “Praying the rosary is special. I hope the students brought it home to the parents. It’s a great way for the family to pray.”

The Five Luminous Mysterious of the Most Holy Rosary CD is available for purchase at The Catholic Shop in Syracuse, or it can be purchased by calling St. Charles School at (315) 488-7631 or write: 200 West High Terrace, Syracuse, NY 13219.

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