First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

ArchCare Group Makes ‘Safe and Secure’ Rosaries for the Troops
By ARMANDO MACHADO
Mary DiBiase Blaich
Day center participants at ArchCare on Staten Island have finished the last of 50 hand-knotted rosaries for U.S. troops. Denise Spencer works on one of the rosaries.

A group of patriotic seniors and people with special needs at ArchCare in Staten Island recently made their last batch of hand-knotted rosaries for U.S. troops in combat zones.

It was the end of a two-month project. The participants saw it as a way to give back to the nation’s dedicated service members. The rosaries were designed with troops’ spiritual needs and safety in mind. In all, 50 rosaries were made.

The rosaries don’t make noise, as the cords are hand-knotted for the “beads,” so that enemy combatants cannot hear when a faithful soldier is at prayer. They are also fashioned in camouflage colors for “Army Camo” and “Desert Camo.” The son of Angela Aversa-Mazzola, an ArchCare homecare nurse, recently finished Army training, and she gave him one of the rosaries. The rosary project occurred at the ArchCare Alternate Care Site, a day center, on St. Marks Place, about four miles from the ArchCare residential nursing site on Old Town Road.

“It was a great project. The participants loved it; everyone loved it,” said Lauren Abate, who organized the endeavor. Mrs. Abate is coordinator of the Alternate Care Site.

“They loved it because it’s for the safety of the soldiers, so they can pray and feel safe and secure,” she explained. “And the cross on each rosary, it has to be black plastic for safety, because metal crosses can reflect light; there were specific instructions.”

The rosaries were made by 13 people—nine day center participants, three staff members and one volunteer—who met on Tuesday afternoons for three hours. Mrs. Abate said she obtained the rosary-making kits through a website called Seat of Wisdom – Rosary for Troops.

Denise Spencer, 65, was among the rosary project participants at the day center. “I was asked, and I was happy to do it, because everybody needs some form of encouragement, especially when you’re alone,” Ms. Spencer said. “Even though we know that God is always with us, (the rosary) is a form of comfort, a physical comfort.”

She added, “I was more than glad to participate; it was my civic duty—just to let them know that everyone, especially God, is with them, and that they can continue doing what they need to do.”

Mrs. Abate said another ArchCare rosary-making project for troops would probably begin in several months, likely to be black rosaries for Army Rangers. In the meantime, she said, the day center participants will stay busy with other service projects, as they always do.

One service project was making medical play dolls for child patients at Staten Island University Hospital, so that doctors and nurses can use them as visual aid to explain treatment and surgery procedures to the youngsters. The day center participants have also made scarves for the homeless, and in the coming weeks they will probably be making quilts for needy families.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

BROWSE OUR GALLERY