Disclaimer

NOTICE: I am a practicing Catholic, active and in good-standing with my local parish, who professes faith and loyalty to the Church and our Holy Father. This "little work" is purely a personal expression of that faith and loyalty, and not an officially recognized ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu. ~ Peter


Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17, 2017: A "Living Balloon Rosary"


I gotta hand it to my parish - we're always looking to come up with fun, creative ideas in our efforts to involve, educate, and inspire our parishioners about the rich devotions practiced in our Catholic Faith.  And today we needed such an idea for a special Advent gathering of the families whose little children are currently going through the religious education process.  This time around, the theme for the event was the promotion of the Family Rosary - something that's right up my ministry's alley!

So working with our Director of Religious Education, together we came up with an almost-whimsical idea that we called the "Living Balloon Rosary".  Using blue and yellow helium-filled balloons to represent Rosary Hail Mary and Our Father beads, we tied each "balloon-bead" to chairs arranged in a heart formation in our parish hall.  The children and their parents were instructed to sit in the chairs while holding their balloon down in their laps until we came to their particular balloon-bead during the course of the Rosary Prayer.  When it was the person's turn, he or she would then release the balloon into the air to mark the progress of our Rosary.  

A short video showing our Kailua parishioners
praying a segment of the "Living Balloon Rosary".

In addition, to make their prayer-experience personal and more engaging, I directed each balloon holder to think of a special intention - perhaps an urgent need or the healing of someone sick.  I told them to imagine their prayer intentions floating up into Heaven for God to take care of as they watched their balloons rise into the air.

Despite the short time we had to iron out details, thanks to the Holy Spirit's expert help, everything fell into place and the event went better than we expected!  Most of the children found amusement at the sight of the many balloons and the parents appeared reflective, as we prayed the Joyful Mysteries with general intentions for our Kailua parish community, as well as for each others' personal needs.

The Living Balloon Rosary completed, showing all the "balloon-beads" up in the air.

I, myself, was touched as I saw each balloon rise above a chair... and I couldn't help but wonder what prayer intention was being offered, if any, by the child or the adult who had just released it; what concern - small or big - was running through the person's mind at the time, especially the kids (they're aware of life's problems too).  I prayed for each participant - whatever his or her need was - and I knew I wasn't alone in doing so.  There was a strong sense that many others in the hall were doing the same thing as they sat watching the balloons rise one by one.  It was powerful.

In the end, the heart formation was fully formed by 59 balloons suspended evenly in the air.  It was somewhat impressive to see and a fitting symbol because our spiritual ohana at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Kailua has a very big heart.  It showed during our prayer today.

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