By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
Students at All Saints Catholic School were recently given a new classroom — of the spiritual sort.
On Oct. 13, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, faculty, staff and benefactors formally dedicated a new Marian grotto adjacent to the school’s front door.
“It’s a classroom where they can learn about Mary and her relationship with Our Son and God the Father,” said Father Alfonse Nazzaro, pastoral administrator of All Saints Catholic Church. “It’s not an art exhibit, it’s another opportunity for kids to learn in their spiritual life and help them to grow closer to God.”
Teachers wasted no time giving students an opportunity to use the grotto as more than 80 students and the All Saints student orchestra gathered later that afternoon for a recitation of the rosary.
Liz Hawkins has been teaching middle school religion at All Saints for the last five years and said the desire for a grotto came about organically as teachers wanted a new space for May Crownings. As fundraising commenced with student-driven $2 dress-down days, two major parent donor families stepped in and helped the grotto come together. The De Leon family bought the Marian statue, while the Keane family provided the landscape.
That the grotto is at the school’s front door is no accident, she said.
“It tells the world we are Catholic and at the same time, it’s a place where we can pray,” Hawkins said.