By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
Father Christopher Colavito believes in teaching by example.
In the past three years that he has been the Catholic chaplain in Holy Cross Preparatory Academy, Delran, he has looked for teaching moments where he can reacquaint students with some of the traditions of the Catholic Church, including prayer services and ceremonies.
For the month of May, when faithful from throughout the world pay tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Father Colavito reintroduced the May Crowning, the beloved tradition that celebrates and recognizes Mary as Queen of Heaven.
For various reasons, he said, there are students who may not have ever participated in a May Crowning, especially if they belong to a parish that didn’t hold May Crowning ceremonies or if they didn’t attend a Catholic grammar school while growing up. It had also been quite a while since a May Crowning was held at the school, he noted.
Father Colavito arranged for this year’s May Crowning to be held May 20, the same day as the last schoolwide Mass for the academic year.
Following the Mass that was celebrated by Father Colavito in the auditorium, the students and faculty participated in a solemn outdoor procession to the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that’s located in a garden area on the school grounds.
It was there where Father Colavito led a prayer service and where the statue was crowned by Corinne McClain, a junior at Holy Cross Prep. Father Colavito noted that McClain had entered the Catholic faith when she received the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion – at the Easter Vigil in her parish, St. Isaac Jogues, Marlton.
“It was beautiful,” Father Colavito said, “to be able to share with the students some of the traditions of the Catholic Church.” He noted that another first for many of the students was singing Marian hymns during the procession.
He added that during the prayer service, he reminded the students that it was a time for them to reflect on the life of the Blessed Mother and her “magnificat – her great ‘yes’ to become the Mother of God.
“I told them that’s what we are all called to do, give our lives to Christ who is our salvation and the salvation of the world,” he said.