The simple gesture of entrusting everything to Mary in prayer accompanies us in communion and gives rise to hope.

The bell rings. Math period is over. My thirty-three 5th graders close their notebooks and are ready to run to drink their tea and play during recess. As usual, I invite them to pray together before going out. The class goes silent and when I ask them what they want to entrust to Mary, many hands go up. “My dad who’s traveling today”; “My mom who is sick and has to go back to the hospital”; “My aunt who’s pregnant and has COVID”; “That baby who you told us is sick”. They pray “that our exams go well”, “for the grandfather who passed away last week”, “ that everyone in the hospital will have enough oxygen”, “for Kayla and Liam who are absent today”, “that Maurice and Anne have a good anniversary celebration”.
Maurice and Anne are actually Maurizio and Anna, the parents of my sister-in-law. A few months ago they caught COVID and Maurizio was in the hospital for a long time. The children prayed for them faithfully every day. When I went back to Italy for the summer, they gave me hand-drawn cards to bring to them. They were so happy when they heard that Maurizio had come home and that in September he would celebrate 50 years of marriage with his wife Anna.
Likewise, they remembered our priests Maffucci and Anas every day. When I told them that Anas had gone to heaven, they didn’t take it well. But I added that since they had remembered them faithfully every day, they would certainly now have a friend in heaven to whom they could turn. Their faces lit up. In this way, with a simple Hail Mary, everything that we have in our hearts is entrusted to the Madonna. It is a simple but profound gesture. In prayer, almost without realizing it, we find ourselves within a greater friendship which unites heaven and Earth, in which we are as connected with our classmates as we are with people on the other side of the world. Faces, situations, and people enter into the horizon of our daily life and enlarge it. There are pains and difficulties that are impossible to bear alone, such as death and illness, but in times such as those, we discover a place in which we can entrust everything and learn to stay in front of them together. Those are the times in which hope is reborn and we rediscover that life is a gift, that it is a beautiful adventure we can face together.

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