Organizers of the annual May crowning at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tujunga took the expression “The sky’s the limit” literally, creating a floating rosary of helium balloons for their indoor/outdoor ceremony May 9.A dozen parents started arriving at 6:30 a.m. to fill the balloons --- dark blue “Our Father” balloons and light blue “Hail Mary” balloons for each decade of the Glorious Mysteries, with white and blue balloons for the cross completing the rosary.

Leading the procession into the church were second graders dressed in their First Holy Communion outfits and children carrying bouquets of multi-colored flowers. Christopher Lee and Kirsten Polzin, top winners of the eighth grade essay contest on “What Mary Means to Me,” read their winning entries and led the student body in recitation of a decade of the rosary.

In his essay, Lee called Mary a role model for the Church. “Her actions were always filled with love and reverence,” Lee said, before leading the recitation of the fourth mystery. “Mary is a beautiful woman who suffered watching her son die. I think she is an excellent model of the Church: she is obedient, loving, compassionate and always humble.”

Polzin, who crowned Mary and led the final rosary decade outdoors, said she prays to Mary for many reasons. “I know she understands me,” said Polzin. “If we turn to her for help, we will be strong members of the Church. She has a pondering heart and will always listen.”

The girls’ essays were judged by members of Catholic Daughters, and the winning boys’ essays were selected by Knights of Columbus.

“The essays were gorgeous,” said Cindy Ellingson, assistant principal and writing coordinator. “The children really expressed their thoughts and feelings of Mary in a beautiful way, and the rosary launching was so exciting with the kids clapping.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Melissa Buenaflor, school parent. “The best part was it brought everyone together.”

“This was way beyond any May crowning I’ve ever been part of before,” said Steve Morin, principal, noting that 12 parents came early to help assemble the rosary floating above the school yard. “I think this school just definitely has the heart of Mary wrapped around it.” 

---Paula Doyle

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