LINCOLN (SNR) – Sixth-graders at St. Mary School in Lincoln planned a special school Mass honoring St. Frances Xavier Cabrini on her Nov. 13 feast day.
Sister Mary Schroer, R.S.M., who coordinates music for Masses and has assisted with sacraments at St. Mary Parish for 32 years, assigns each class in grades 3-8 to plan two special Masses each year – one per semester. The classes study the saint or feast and participate in the readings, responsorial psalms, intercessions, offertory and announcing the hymns. The schola, an auditioned group of students in grades 5-8 who sing for school Masses, often provides special music for the celebrations.
This year, the feast of St. Frances Cabrini fell to the sixth-grade class.
“As patroness of immigrants,” Sister Mary said, “Mother Cabrini is an important spiritual friend to the school because more than 11 languages are spoken in the homes of St. Mary students.”
And, it happened that the sixth-grade class assigned this saint has students who speak four additional languages in their homes: Spanish, Vietnamese, Chuukese (Micronesia) and Tagalog (Philippines).
So, at the end of the Nov. 13 daily school Mass, the sixth-graders who speak those four languages at home prayed the “Hail Mary” in those languages. A narrator announced each one, and the students also dressed in native costumes to represent the countries where their families originated. Sister Mary pointed out that several students joined in some of the languages.
“After those four prayed, we all prayed the Hail Mary in English,” she said. “We asked the Blessed Virgin Mary, with St. Frances Cabrini, to intercede for immigrants of all nationalities, that they may discover in our America the peace and freedom they seek – and that our country may truly be blessed as ‘one nation, under God.’”
Sister Mary said the experience was a good one for all 165 students in the tight-knit school.
“Father (Douglas) Dietrich (pastor of St. Mary Parish and chief administrative officer of the school) is such an awesome preacher to these kids,” she said, “they learn so much.”
The children won’t celebrate St. Francis Cabrini again next year, as Nov. 13 will fall on a weekend. But Sister Mary said another celebration will fall into the rotation – two particularly popular feasts this year were the Nativity of Mary (Sept. 8), as the school is named for the Blessed Virgin, and the Triumph of the Cross (Sept. 14).