Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
October 28, 2023 // Local

Rosary Challenge Raises Funds for Ugandan Village

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

For the second consecutive year, leaders in the Mishawaka Catholic community – at St. Bavo Church, St. Monica Church, and St. Joseph Church – are connecting
parishioners with students at Mishawka Catholic School through a unique and faith-filled fundraiser: the October Rosary Challenge – Can You Bead It.

“In the month of October, the students and faculty at Mishawaka Catholic School are praying as many Rosaries as they can with the goal of growing closer to Mary and Jesus and loving others through prayer and sacrifice,” Jeanette Dripps, Faith Formation Director at Mishawaka Catholic School, shared with the three parishes in sponsorship packets for the program.

Mishawaka Catholic School fourth-graders Nora Heath and Simon Bonadies pose for a picture in front of their classroom’s rosaries, which they’ve used during the community’s October Rosary Challenge.

The Rosary Challenge is raising money for the Bugumiro Foundation in Uganda, whose mission is “to bring the hope and healing of Jesus to the marginalized families in Uganda.” Last year, the project raised more than $9,000 to pay for a roof for their medical center and robes for their altar servers. This year, the money raised will help the village construct a new building that will house a library and, hopefully, a room for Catechesis of the Good Shephard, as well as to purchase textbooks for the school.

Sponsors are asked to pray for the participants’ growth in virtue using a shared checklist that notes which virtue to pray each day. Each sponsor is asked to donate $31 – $1 for every Rosary prayed. Sponsors are also asked to share a message of encouragement for the participant they sponsor. 

Photos provided by Jeanette Dripps
A photo shows the inside of a pre-kindergarten classroom in the Ugandan village that is being helped by money raised from the October Rosary Challenge taking place in the Mishawaka Catholic community. Last year, more than $9,000 was raised to pay for a roof for their medical center and robes for their altar servers.

“It kind of came to me all at once one day, this idea of trying to get our parishes more involved with the school as a way to connect with the school kids and a way for the kids to authentically do service instead of just asking mom and dad to give $5,” Dripps said. “We came up with this idea of getting sponsors for the kids from the parishes, and then the kids are tasked with praying the Rosary every day, and a dollar a day goes to a really great charity. And then they are able to see the fruit of their prayer through videos and interactions with the Bugumiro Foundation.”

Eddie Wamala, President and Co-founder of the Bugumiro Foundation, visited the students and shared videos of the work happening at the foundation. He also showed photos of how last year’s donation benefitted the organization.

“It was really a neat experience for the kids to see it come full circle and to learn about life in a different country and ways that they could serve and help,” Dripps said about the visit.

This year, 348 students are being sponsored, and 997 Rosaries were said just during the first week alone. Students pray their Rosaries during Eucharistic adoration, at home with their families, and during free periods in the school day.

“It’s something they’re encouraged to do on their own,” Dripps said. “We do it at school sometimes, but you have to figure out how to do this, how to fit this into your life – trying to develop that habit of prayer for themselves.”

Last year, Dripps said she had the opportunity to witness a group of kindergarteners using their free time to make a circle and pray the Rosary out loud.

Children run and play outside of the school in the village in Uganda supported by money raised from the Mishawaka Catholic community’s October Rosary Challenge.

Fourth-grader Nora Heath said she thinks it’s a good project because she can help kids who are in Uganda. She prays a lot at home during her down time, she said.

“When we pray the Rosary, we know that we’re not just praying, we’re not just talking to God, we’re also helping other people who really need our help,” Heath said. “By praying the Rosary, that can really help them a lot.”

Fourth-grader Simon Bonadies said he prays most of his Rosaries during adoration. “I love it because we get to grow closer to Jesus while helping other kids in need,” he said, adding that he appreciates the opportunity to participate in the program to help others, and he feels it is bringing him closer to God.

This unique program has offered an opportunity for multiple generations to enhance their prayer life while helping others.

“I hope that they learn to develop that habit of prayer,” Dripps said. “I hope that they learn that their prayers are really a great service to other people, that the most important service they can give is to pray for others. And I hope they realize that, through their prayers, God does amazing things. I hope for the parishioners that they feel a connection to the school and to the students, and that they feel like they have a way that they’re contributing to the kids.”

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