VASJ celebrates Feast of the Holy Rosary with prayer service

When Bob Preto received the Summer 2014 issue of VASJ Magazine, he noticed the “Save the Date” for the Rosary Prayer Service and knew it was something he wanted to attend.

“I know it sounds funny but the Holy Spirit came over me and said I had to be there,” Preto says.

Preto, who was a member of the maintenance staff at Villa Angela Academy and VASJ for over 20 years, said the school still holds a special place in his heart.

During his tenure at VASJ, Preto attended many Masses and other Liturgies. One day nearly 20 years ago, it struck him that there wasn’t much attention given to Mary and the rosary. Preto approached VASJ religion teacher Bill Raddell ’68 about the issue.

“As we have come to better understand our Marianist charisms, we have since realized it is appropriate to celebrate the rosary in a more formal way,” Raddell says.

VASJ Religion Chair Bill Raddell '68 and former staff member Bob Preto at the Rosary Prayer Service.


Thanks to Preto’s suggestion, the VASJ community has been gathering each October for more than 20 years to celebrate the Holy Rosary.

A Rosary Prayer Service was held on October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. VASJ Peer Ministers planned the event and the entire student body as well as alums and friends (including Preto) were in attendance.

“This is a unique part of our Catholic spirituality and rich prayer tradition,” Raddell says. “The Rosary reminds us of the power of God to change the world.”

VASJ seniors sat in the shape of the rosary and each member of the class recited the Holy Rosary. The Sorrowful Mysteries were acted out by a group of Peer Ministers and two of VASJ’s Praise Dancers performed a routine – completely choreographed by the students.

VASJ seniors sit in the shape of the rosary at the Rosary Prayer Service. 

“It was special,” Preto said of the prayer service. “I was very much impressed with the students’ behavior.”