Article by Liam Von Elm, Class of 2017:
On Monday afternoon, over three hundred freshman gathered in the school auditorium. The students all came to be a part of the freshman Sodality Prayer Service. The prayer service began with a piece performed by the Gregorian Consortium. The procession was lead by Marco Mongelli bearing the cross followed by fellow freshman Nick Castelli, Lauren Aragona, Elizabeth Leterrie, myself, and Father Tom Cardone bringing up the rear with his dog Jonah right by his side. Father Tom read the opening prayer and then everyone was seated.
Freshman students Elizabeth, Lauren, and I read three different readings about different aspects of the Sodality program. The readings stated why we joined Sodality and why we are in a group. Sodality is done in groups because it is hard to achieve what you want without the motivation and support your friends offer you.
After the readings took place, Father Tom, who still had Jonah by his side, read a Gospel reading from the Gospel of John. The Gospel reading talked about Mary and John at the foot of Jesus’ cross. Fr. Tom explained that the 3 o’Clock Prayer is based on this Gospel passage. After the Gospel, Father Tom gave a little homily about the aspects of Sodality and gave us some background information about Father Chaminade. He taught us about how faith in France during Father Chaminade’s time was diminishing. In an attempt to restore faith in France, Father Chaminade started Sodality groups that met to try to restore the faith in the Church. That is what our Sodalities are about. We meet in groups to discuss religious matters and talk about our faith. This restores our faith and helps it grow. These ideas were the basic concept of Father Tom’s homily.
When the homily concluded, freshman students Marco Mongelli and Nick Castelli invited the congregation to respond each of the statements they read. Everyone responded faithfully and proudly. The responses were in praise of Mary.
When the call-and-response part of the prayer service was over, Mr. James O’Brien came in front of the freshman class to talk to us about four major topics of Sodality. Mr. O’Brien shared with us that he still talks to his Sodality moderator and most of the people in his group when he was in Sodality in high school. He then told us to close our eyes and put ourselves in the presence of the Lord as the Gregorian Consortium played a meditation song. Father Tom gave us the concluding rite, to which we all responded, “Amen.” Then the five students on the stage, followed by Father Tom, processed out as Gregorian Consortium lead a final song. It was a very prayerful experience. The fact that around three hundred freshman stayed after school to go to a prayer service is quite astounding. It was a fantastic event.