Thursday, February 27, 2020 - Updated: 11:14 am
Assisting in setup for activities and working concession stands are important roles parents play in a school community. The help is certainly needed and appreciated by administrators. Last year, a St. Thomas More School mother of two daughters wanted to assist in a spiritual way.
Christie Kulbeida brought up the idea of coming together as a group — parents and students — to pray the rosary.
“You can do so much work in the physical aspect of volunteering, but I felt a need for us to gather together more as a school community,” Kulbieda said. “The central part of that gathering for us is prayer.”
In about 13 months the group has grown as families now meet twice a month, on Tuesdays before the morning bell, in the Bethel Park parish’s family life center. Five students lead in praying each decade of the rosary and reading the sorrowful mysteries. Another parent, Dan Murphy, facilitates the group and gives an introduction welcoming all the families in attendance.
“With Principal Lynne Lynch’s support, we are able to keep it going,” said Murphy, who has a son, Michael, at the school. “This year we make solid plans for it no matter how big or how small the group may be. Our STM community is strong and welcoming.”
Trying to find a time that works for everyone on a busy weekday was challenging in the beginning. Gathering just before school starts allows for an easier schedule and a calming transition into the day, which isn’t always easy for those trying to prepare for school and work in the morning hours. It’s all worth it, though, when everyone’s focus turns to Jesus’ suffering and the beauty of the Blessed Mother, said Kulbieda, whose two daughters are Riley and Stephanie.
“The kids fully participate,” she said. “It’s good for them to see their families praying. To get a strong faith foundation, we as parents need to develop a prayerful life outside of Mass. Our parents can be models for our students, and it’s even better when the students see their friends praying and forming a relationship with God.”
Nearly 60 families came to pray the rosary on a recent frigid January morning.
“We have many dedicated families,” Lynch said. “The staff here appreciates and thanks all of our families for being supportive of our students and for their support of Catholic education.”
The St. Thomas More student body also recently prayed the rosary and it was recorded for a broadcast on We Are One Body radio. Practicing with families on Tuesday mornings helped the students become more inspired and confident with the rosary.
“When two or more are gathered, Jesus is present, and that’s certainly true here,” Kulbieda said. “I just felt a calling to help, and I’m glad that so many people got on board.
“It’s not my idea, it’s God’s idea.”