Students and staff of Our Lady of The Annunciation Catholic Primary school, Pagewood joined thousands of others in Catholic school and office communities across Sydney, to pray the Angelus at midday on 25 March 2015.
The church at Pagewood was beautifully decorated with student artwork depicting the moment that the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to conceive of the Holy Spirit and become the mother of God. Students had been involved in a wide range of activities aimed at increasing their knowledge and understanding of the events, and the significance of Mary’s ‘yes’ in the life of the Church. The enthusiasm that students displayed during these activities is testament to the importance of the events of the Annunciation.
Students and staff gathered reverently in the church to mark the celebration of the Annunciation. Bells rang out across the church and school grounds, encouraging people to stop and focus their attention towards God. After a welcome by the school Principal, Mrs Deborah Buchanan, the community listened to the account of the Annunciation recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Whilst this was being proclaimed, school leaders, Holly Beamond and Mitchell Heywood animated the reading and acted out the roles of Mary and the Angel Gabriel respectively. The dramatisation greatly assisted younger students to connect with the prayer, and the mystery of God sharing in our humanity.
Although many of the students in the school were unfamiliar with the Angelus, they prayed it respectfully and enthusiastically.
The prayer service also included two Marian Hymns sung by John Burland and students of the Our Lady of the Annunciation school choir. Voices were raised in song, in honour of Mary’s humble obedience to the will of God.
In addressing the gathering, the Director of Religious Education and Evangelisation, Mr Anthony Cleary encouraged students and staff to adopt the praying of the Angelus into their daily lives.
By joining with other Catholic schools to launch the introduction of the daily Angelus, students and staff at Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Primary School are continuing an age-old tradition. It is a tradition of interrupting daily routines in order to focus on God and acknowledge the commitment of Mary in accepting God’s will.
After the liturgy, Holly and Mitchell both commented that “we are praying the Angelus because Mary said yes to God’s plan”, and Claudia Superina reflected “This prayer makes us more aware of what our school is about.” These reflections provide rich insights as to how positive prayer can be.
Congratulations must be extended to the Students and staff of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Pagewood, on the positive and constructive way they were able to engage with the Angelus. They have shown how meaningful this prayer is to their school, and the wider Christian community.
The praying of the Angelus at midday is not unique to Our Lady of the Annunciation, Pagewood. Rather, this prayer is being introduced into all Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Sydney, who have accepted the invitation of Archbishop Anthony Fisher, to embed this within the daily life of each community. Archbishop Fisher has reflected that the Angelus “honours Mary’s great yes to God; offered humbly, faithfully and obediently. Through it we reflect upon and celebrate the great mystery of God sharing in our humanity, becoming one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. ”
Mr Cleary suggested that the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese had reacted positively to the initiative; “when people take the time to reflect upon this prayer they are struck by the enormity of the event which it describes. The sacred encounter between the Angel Gabriel and Mary changed all of human history and Mary’s ‘yes’ has enabled the opportunity for redemption and salvation. I sincerely hope that the daily praying of the Angelus reminds people of the power of prayer, the significance of tradition and the loving presence of God in their own lives.”