On Nov. 21, the annual Thanksgiving prayer service returned in-person. The prayer service, a long standing Marian tradition, has had to take new forms since 2019 due to the pandemic. However, with a consistent downturn in COVID cases and an increase in vaccinations, the Thanksgiving prayer service finally returned.
Each year, the prayer service allows for clubs to display creativity as a form of prayer or gratitude. While Thanksgiving isn’t an exclusively religious holiday, students express their gratitude through prayer and the exhibition of the many talents found within the halls of Marian. Junior FIAT core team member Grace Sparwasser spent hours coordinating this event along with other FIAT core team senior members Natalie Pelan, Bailey Sommer, Mariana Vazquez Rosas and Emily Martin.
According to Sparwasser, the prayer service “is all about gratitude and being thankful for the Marian community.” While the prayer service is not a Mass, there are readings and prayers typical to those said during Mass. World Language Club, Decade Darlings, Select Women’s Choir, FIAT members and sophomore Elizabeth Buescher all contributed their talents to the prayer service.
Sparwasser and the FIAT Core Team selected these groups to perform because “they are not heard by the community oftentimes. We wanted to give them a chance to share their talents so that everybody could see.”
Junior FIAT Core Team member Chizzy Okolo opened the prayer service with a poem of thanksgiving. The prayer reminded students to recognize the gifts around them and also be thankful year round, not just during the Thanksgiving season.
Marian musicians showcased their talents, too. Sophomore Elizabeth Buescher took to the piano and played “Golden Slumbers” by the Beatles followed by the Select Women’s Choir’s rendition of “Parish Family Blessing.”
The World Language Club led the school in prayer with the saying of the Our Father. Representatives from the World Language Club each shared an excerpt of the prayer first in English, then Spanish, followed by French and finally Mandarin. The prayer service showcased the diversity of languages spoken and taught at Marian.
FIAT members read passages and other prayers from Scripture, and the Decade Darlings Club gave the closing prayer alongside Servant of Mary Sr. Lucille Beaulieu. FIAT members also collaborated to produce a gratitude video shown at the prayer service.
The Marian Mimes were set to give a performance of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein however, due to participant absences and inability of members to miss class to practice, the mimes were unable to perform. In past prayer services, though, the mimes have performed lively interpretations and offer a creative outlet for Marian students.
All students and members of the Marian community gave thanks through their talents and prayer at the Thanksgiving prayer service. Campus Minister and FIAT Moderator Mrs. Anna Kolterman hopes students were able “to come together in prayer in a way that’s different from Mass and prepare their hearts with Thanksgiving gratitude.”
Senior Cecilia Regan was excited for the return of the in-person prayer service and recalls her first Thanksgiving prayer service in 2019. “Freshman year there was an amazing handbell performance and a lot of time for reflection.”
This year, Regan enjoyed Buescher’s performance and the renewed feeling of community. Though the prayer service was a little shorter than recent years, she was grateful for the allotted time for prayer and meditation. Most importantly, Regan left the prayer service feeling “thankful to be a part of the Marian community.”
The Thanksgiving prayer service continues to be a staple Marian tradition. With origins tracing back to 2003, according to Kolterman, the prayer service has taught Marian girls to embrace gratitude and value the talents of their peers, and will continue to do so for many years to come.