By Maureen Carroll Martin

Special to the Standard

The weekly Rosary Club has been a spiritual offering at St. Jude Regional Catholic School in Rockville, Maryland, since the school opened its doors in 1956. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent self-quarantine orders did not stop the weekly rosary, as the school continued to pray via the Internet. 

Led by St. Jude’s upper school religion teacher Jeanne Donatelli, the Rosary Club meets via Zoom each Wednesday afternoon, with approximately 14 to 20 families participating each week. The participating students joined in praying the rosary together virtually through the spring and summer. Now as the new school year has begun at St. Jude Regional Catholic School with some students attending class in-person and others taking classes virtually, the Rosary Club continues to meet via Zoom on Wednesday afternoons so all the students and families can pray together.

According to Donatelli, the students and their families enter the online chat with a song, talk about the events of the past week, offer prayer intentions, then the students lead a decade of the rosary.

“The students love seeing each other,” Donatelli said. She said that as an addition to their religious studies, if there is a feast day on the same day as their weekly Zoom call, students come with one fun fact about that saint.

“Rosary Club is meaningful to me because I get to see my friends, pray with others, and be with my community,” said St. Jude fourth grader Ajak Parek. Her sister, second grader Apal said, “It is meaningful to me because I get closer to God and get to pray with my community.” 

As part of the Rosary Club, students throughout the school prayed a virtual “Rosary Across America” as they earned eight miles for every decade of the rosary that was said. Their goal was to reach California on Aug. 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Along the way, they prayed for a coronavirus vaccine, peace in our country, their school community, and first responders. 

Donatelli said the students reached California, having “traveled” more than 3,000 miles, a “distance” of 375 decades of the rosary prayed by the students.