Teaching School Children the Rosary in the Jungles of Belize 
GULF PINE CATHOLIC, January 24, 2014 

A parishioner of St. Alphonsus Parish in Ocean Springs, Eddie Kemmerer recently spent 10 months with a missionary order, The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, in the small Central American country of Belize. 

There, in addition to his regular duties, he learned of and became involved in a special ministry to the school children that is focused on teaching them all about the rosary. 
He reflects on his experiences:
"Walking the streets of Benque Viejo in the Central American country of Belize one afternoon several days after my arrival to fulfill my commitment to serve at a Catholic mission there, I was practically beside myself. I was wondering what in the world I had done. I had just left a very good engineering job in the United States (probably the best assignment I had ever had) to come and live in poverty with others like me who had received what I believe to be a very special calling from God to do so. 

"The calling was so strong that I just couldn't ignore it or resist it any longer. So I left everything . . . taking care of all my worldly connections as best I could before leaving as I knew there would be little if any contact with anyone or anything to do with my "possessions" back home for almost a year. 

"I went there as a 'postulant' with six other men to discern religious life with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). Five of us were from the United States and two were from Belize. Despite the conditions, we were all excited to be there and knew we were in for a great adventure. 

"The next day we all received our assignments. We were to go to the outlying mission schools to help with teaching the children there Monday through Thursday. Three of us including myself went to a tiny village called Arenal and the other four went to another small village called Calla Creek. Brother John, who was there to lead us and help us in our formation and discernment, went to both schools. 

"They were elementary schools . . . kindergarten to sixth grade. So the next week we were off to school. The children were wonderful. They were the happiest, most playful, most loving kids I had ever experienced in my life. We were welcomed as if we were the most important people in the world to them. Also, the principal and the regular teachers welcomed us with open arms. 

"The children, especially the younger ones, knew little or no English. The mission is located right on the border with Guatemala so the prevailing language is Spanish. However, the national language of Belize is English so one of our duties was to help the children learn English. 

"Sometimes we would have special event days. One such day of these days we called Rosary Day because two people from a very special rosary ministry came all the way from Belize City (on the other side of the country) to visit us. The rosary ministry, commissioned by the local bishop, travels to all the Catholic schools in Belize no matter how far away they are or how difficult to reach.
"So we prepared for them by taking down the partitions between the classrooms in one of the school buildings in order to make one giant room big enough to fit in all of us. There the children listened attentively as they were taught not only how to say the rosary but also it's meaning and history and how to explain it to others who may not understand intercessory prayer. 

"We prayed one mystery of the rosary with some of the children volunteering for leadership parts. Each student was given a rosary and a picture of the Divine Mercy of Jesus. They were so happy and thankful to see that there were people in the world who actually remembered them and cared enough about them to teach them about such important matters. 

"After school and on Fridays and Saturdays we were very active in helping families with building and repair projects and also did a lot in helping the priests and sisters with all the 101 things that had to be done in running the parish, which is called Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We prayed a lot together, too, each and every day without fail. 

"Assisting at daily Mass as altar servers and sacristans, adoration of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist at holy hours, helping others with substantial amounts of our time and talents, and praying together was our life! 

"During the first half of the year, I noticed one of the little kids (a first-grader) following me around a lot. He wouldn't really say too much. It's more like he would look for me and then hang around a bit as if he were trying to figure out what the heck I was doing there. Finally one day, after several months of this, he came running up to me with a great big smile and said with great enthusiasm 'Mister, Mister (they all called me 'Mister'), I know what you're doing here. You came to protect us.' 

"And he just stood there nodding knowingly next to me. Me, being taken aback by his words and not really knowing what to say said, 'Yes, that's right. That's why I am here.' Wow! Was that an ever meaningful moment of my life. To know that those children thought so highly of me was one of the highest blessings I have ever received. 

"I think this is what being a Christian is all about: loving God with all our hearts, minds and souls so much so that it compels us to set our own worries and concerns aside for a while to do things for others, especially the most vulnerable even if it means practically total abandonment to ourselves, humiliation, and even persecution. As Christians, we must truly live our holy faith each day. 

"I thank our God most graciously, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, very much for calling me and the others who served with me in Belize to be such an intricate part of the Body of Christ. What an honor to have served in such important work and through this work to have grown spiritually enough to know what it means to walk along the narrow road as Jesus asks us to do. 
"For it is only by the narrow road by which we will someday find ourselves and all those we have helped to be within the kingdom of God. Amen." 

Kemmerer continues to support the SOLT mission schools in various ways and is especially active in helping the rosary mission by collecting rosaries, religious teaching aids, and other miscellaneous articles that can be mailed to Belize. 
The rosary ministry was started by and is run by Manuela Lue and her Aunt Thomasita, who live and work in Belize. 
They have made many of the rosaries themselves with a small number of local volunteers but most of the rosaries are made in the United States by volunteers who know about this ministry. 

Last year, about 5,000 rosaries were made and distributed, but it is not nearly enough. 

In a recent interview, Manuela said, "The rosary project is happening at a good time because crime has increased and we get the children to pray a lot to end violence and drug use and to keep families together. There are a lot of single-parent families because maybe the father is not present and the mother has to raise the children alone. 

"There is no work so a lot of parents leave the children and they go to America and the grandparents raise the children so we are trying to get the children to pray for the family to stay together. The most important part of this is when we teach the children how to pray the rosary and you can see that they are re-learning their faith. It is coming alive for them. 

"The teachers, too, are coming alive and praying with their families. They ask us to come back and to bring other things into the school, like the Stations of the Cross. They are hungry to learn about their faith." 



The Catholic Times, January 18th, 2015

Belize Rosary Mission Empowering Students

Lay missionary Manuela Lue, a former Columbus resident, is in her second decade of promoting devotion to the rosary in her homeland of Belize, with the help of volunteers from central Ohio.
Lue was the subject of a Catholic Times cover story in 2009 which told of her efforts to place a rosary in the hands of every Catholic student in Belize. She started her rosary mission in 2002 while working in Columbus as a financial analyst and caring for an ailing aunt.
As her faith grew, she felt called to start a rosary mission in Belize, along with another aunt, Thomasita Asevedo, who lives there. After Irene Cassady of Columbus taught her how to make rosaries, Lue sent back hundreds of rosaries to Belize and bought a rosary kit so her aunt could do the same thing.  The missions office of the Diocese of Columbus has been instrumental from the beginning in providing her with supplies and promoting the rosary mission.
After she returned to Belize in 2006, the bishop of the Diocese of Belize City, which covers the entire nation, requested that Lue and her aunt teach the history and meaning of the rosary to the more than 41,000 students in the 130 Catholic schools of Belize. They began doing so in 2008 at St. Martin de Porres School in Belize City, with the help of a mission team from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. To date, they have presented rosaries to 35,173 students in 102 schools.  
Lue most recently came to Columbus in January 2014 and September 2013. While in central Ohio, she attended a friend’s wedding, reconnected with old prayer group friends, and gathered more rosaries, religious articles, and books to take back to Belize.
Among her longtime supporters in the Columbus area are Earl and Carol Crosby of Worthington St. Michael Church, who were able to visit her recently when they took a cruise that stopped in Belize. The timing of the cruise coincided with one of Lue’s rosary visits, so the Crosbys were able to personally deliver a large number of rosaries they had gathered in the Columbus area to St. Margaret Mary School in the Belizean capital of Belmopan. There they met Lue’s aunt and Gordon Trotter, a volunteer from England who uses his vacation time to travel to Belize twice a year to help with the rosary mission. Besides volunteers who make rosaries in the Columbus area, the mission, known as Mary’s Little Jewel, has dedicated rosary makers in Maryland, Kansas, Mississippi, Idaho, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Kentucky.
Carol Crosby stayed with Asevedo and Trotter while they conducted a classroom session with the younger children.  Earl Crosby accompanied Lue to a fifth-grade classroom to conduct a separate session.  When the morning sessions were complete, the entire group was treated to lunch by the mother of one of the students at her home.    
The Crosbys said they were impressed by the peace that radiated from the children while they attentively listened to their rosary lesson, which reinforced lessons they had learned from their teachers. During the presentation, each child was given a rosary and a pamphlet that explained how to pray the rosary. Each classroom was provided with a large rosary poster, and each child was presented with the Divine Mercy picture of Jesus.
As Carol Crosby distributed the pictures, one girl’s face lit up as she enthusiastically said she was going to hang the picture in her bedroom. The rosary mission distributes rosary CD’s to teachers of the youngest children, and all teachers receive packets with prayer cards and blessed items such as medals and scapulars. All material is free of charge.
The Crosbys said their experience expanded their understanding of the Church’s universal nature. “Although the school rooms were sparsely furnished by American standards, the students were well-behaved and eager to learn,” Earl Crosby said. The Crosbys observed that the horses some children had ridden to school were grazing in an adjacent pasture while their riders studied.
Lue used the pictures and video Earl Crosby took during the day to help promote the rosary mission. The Crosbys treasured the rosary poster and large rosary that Asevedo gave them.  The Crosbys believe the small contributions they make to the rosary mission go a long way in Belize.
The rosary mission operates out of the home of Lue and her aunt, which is too small to accommodate a large amount of rosaries, prayer cards, and religious articles they have gathered, and the volunteers who want to come to help. They plan to expand the building into a rosary center which will target people of all ages and will include a special rosary-making room and a Catholic bookstore. It also will offer programs such as Spanish-language classes, literacy classes, math classes, art classes, and entrepreneurship classes targeting the 56 percent of Belize residents who are 25 and younger.
The mission is looking for people who can come to Belize on sightseeing tours and mission tours and a volunteer who can assist with fundraising. It needs an SUV to traverse dirt roads in remote areas. It also is asking for volunteers to come to Belize to teach art, math, reading, media production, and entrepreneurial skills once the center is built. Direct financial support is needed to construct the center, and in-kind donations of books, religious articles, rosary-making material, finished rosaries, furniture, and equipment are needed to furnish it.  Upon completion of the center, ongoing support will be needed to deliver programs for enhancement and to support awards that represent young people’s achievements.
The rosary mission also has land for sale in Belize, the only nation in Central America whose official language is English, dating to the days when it was known as British Honduras. Anyone who wishes to support the center in any way or would like additional information is invited to contact Lue at mcjlue@gmail.com or at Mary’s Little Jewel, Box 197, Belize City, Belize


The Catholic Times, March 20th, 2016

By: Manuela Lue


In 2002, while working in Columbus and attending Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at Immaculate Conception Church, I felt called to start a rosary mission in my homeland of Belize with my aunt Thomasita Azevedo, who raised me and in whose home I live. Irene Cassady of Columbus taught me how to make rosaries, and I made hundreds of rosaries and sent them back to Belize. I also bought a rosary kit so my aunt could do the same.
It was my goal to place a rosary in the hands of all the students in the 130 Catholic schools in Belize (formerly British Honduras in Central America). The mission started in 2008. Eight years later, reaching that goal is becoming ever closer. With the help of visitors and volunteers, we have distributed more than 36.000 rosaries in 109 schools.
Our rosary team makes school sessions more lively by relating the mysteries of the rosary to real-life circumstances. Teachers and principals say that the rosary visits provide a fresh perspective to students, reinforce what is being taught in religion classes, and clarify what the students know about the rosary and the Blessed Mother’s role as an intercessor.
The sessions also provide renewed energy to the teachers in their quest to impart the faith to the students. After rosary sessions in the schools, students pray the rosary, internalize the message, and surrender themselves in prayer to God.
At each school, the rosary team gives all teachers and principals a packet full of rosaries, rosary-making activities for arts and crafts, and leaflets with stories about the lives of the saints, the rosary, and the scapular of Mount Carmel. Each principal also receives a large rosary made by Thomasita, and each student receives a Divine Mercy poster to take home. The rosary team usually ends its visits by praying with the students for their families, for the benefactors of the rosary mission, and for each school and community in Belize.  
During school visits, the team also takes the opportunity to learn about the needs of the schools and their students. Networks are formed to provide scholarships to needy students with high academic potential.  
In 2015, when I visited Columbus to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, I met parishioners from Powell St. Joan of Arc Church who arranged for several boxes of mission supplies, donated by the Diocese of Columbus, to be donated to the rosary mission.
Also last year, the mission was blessed to host Alayna Reckner from Hilliard St. Brendan Church, an Ohio State University student who was doing research for a dissertation on Belize. She attended the rosary prayer meetings in Belize City hosted by the Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Makers, a group that has Thomasita as a co-leader.
Alayna also accompanied Thomasita and me to the National Catholic Youth Rally at Holy Redeemer Church, where thousands of young people from all over Belize gathered to hear talks and attend workshops. In addition, she  went to the National Festival of Arts in Belize City with some young people from the rosary mission who displayed their handicrafts.
 Vivian Harvey of Columbus St. Francis of Assisi Church learned about our work with developing youth and met me in Columbus in 2015. Vivian invited two girls from the Belize rosary mission to go to Guatemala during  Christmas vacation last year and learn more skills from expert Guatemalan handicrafters.
The rosary mission operates out of our home, which is too small to accommodate the large inventory of items we have accumulated over the years, and the volunteers who want to come to help. We plan to build a Rosary Center for Education and Empowerment which will target people of all ages and will include a separate rosary-making room and a Catholic bookstore. The center will offer programs to complement traditional classroom teachings,  such as literacy classes, Spanish-language classes, problem-solving classes, public speaking classes, and entrepreneurship classes targeting   Belize’s  under-25 population.
The mission is now looking for people who want to come to Belize on service-learning trips and sightseeing tours. We also are looking for volunteers who can come to teach catechesis, art, math, literacy, media production, and entrepreneurial skills once the center is built, and for a volunteer who can assist with fundraising.
The rosary mission cannot survive without financial support. The resources that have carried it through the past eight years have come from a handful of donors from abroad and from personal financial and other limited resources.
The land on which the rosary center will be built has been acquired. A Facebook page titled “Little Jewel of Fatima” has been created,  as well as a fundraising site: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/center-for-education-and-empowerment.  In-kind donations of books, religious articles, rosary-making material, finished rosaries, rosary CD’s, furniture, and equipment are needed to furnish the center.  Upon completion of the building, ongoing support will be needed to deliver programs for enhancement and to support awards that represent young people’s achievements.
Members of Catholic congregations and religious sisters who I have met overseas through the years have visited Belize to conduct workshops for children in the rosary mission, which is called Mary’s Little Jewel. Rosary makers in Ohio, Idaho, Maryland,  Canada, and the United Kingdom remain committed to sending rosaries for free distribution in Belize.
Several people from other nations have visited Mary’s Little Jewel to assist the mission by taking photographs, counting materials, or carrying mission supplies into the schools.  Among them are Carol and Earl Crosby of Worthington St. Michael Church, who visited Belize on a cruise ship and spent their day off in Belize by going to a village with the rosary team.
 Thomasita and I want every Catholic family in Belize to learn to pray the rosary together and not just to own one. Our greatest desire is to share the peace and joy that praying the rosary brings. It is prayed with families when they ask, and it is prayed with and for those in need of spiritual nourishment. Please pray for the success of our Mary’s Little Jewel rosary mission.  


The Catholic Times, November 26th, 2017
Manuela Lue completes rosary mission

Nine years ago, former Columbus resident Manuela Lue set a goal of placing rosaries in the hands of all the students of the 130 Catholic schools in her homeland of Belize, formerly British Honduras in Central America. She reached that goal in October at St. Viator Vocational High School in the community of Chunox.
Lue, her aunt Thomasita Asevedo, and others have distributed more than 40,000 rosaries to students since 2008. At each school they visited, they gave all teachers and principals a packet filled with rosaries, rosary-making activities, and leaflets with stories about the lives of the saints, the rosary, and the scapular of Mount Carmel.
Each principal also received a large rosary made by Asevedo, and each student was given a Divine Mercy poster to take home. The visits usually ended with prayers with the students for their families, for the benefactors of the rosary mission, and for each school and community in Belize.  During school visits, Lue and her team also took the opportunity to learn about the needs of the schools and their students, and to form networks that have provided scholarships to needy students with high academic potential.  Lue’s involvement with the rosary began when Irene Cassady of Columbus taught her how to make rosaries. The idea for the rosary mission came to her in 2002 while she was attending Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at Columbus Immaculate Conception Church. The benefactors whose donations have helped provide rosaries for her work include many Columbus residents, some of whom have visited her on missionary trips to assist with her work.
“Students see the rosary as a sacred object which helps us to receive God’s graces,” Lue said. “They better understand the Blessed Mother’s role in interceding for us.  The rosary sessions enlightened the teachers on how to better motivate the students and provided a deeper insight into how to pray.
“The objective was to touch the hearts of all the participants in the rosary session, and the students asked several questions about their faith. They were engaged in the sessions and happy that a team of visitors came from outside their school to teach them. This brought a fresh perspective to the students and they enjoyed the activities during the rosary sessions.
“Overall, the sessions were fruitful and helped the participants to grow in their faith. Words cannot describe the amazing nine-year journey that took the rosary team to every nook and cranny of Belize to teach the rosary in the Catholic schools.”
Anyone interested in learning about Lue’s mission may reach her at her new email address, mcjlue74@gmail.com.

The Pilgrim, April 2019
Manuela’s rosary mission

She has a master's degree in finance and has worked for an oil company, but what drives Manuela Lue is promoting the rosary in the former British colony of Belize in Central America.

In 2002, while praying one evening at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Columbus, Ohio, Manuela Lue felt a call to start a rosary mission in her homeland of Belize.
Surrounded by Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea, the tiny country of Belize was under British rule from the late 18th century until 1981. It has a population of just 370,000 people, around 40 percent Catholic.
“The first bunch of rosaries that I sent to Belize I had seen at the back of the chapel. I asked the priest if I could take them for Belize and he said yes. So I posted them to my aunt, Thomasita,” said Manuela.
“I then contacted rosary makers across the USA and also in Columbus, where I lived at the time, and they donated rosaries to me, which I then sent to Belize.”
The following year, at the closing of the Mass for the year of the rosary in a church in Orange Walk Town in the north of Belize, her aunt distributed a couple of thousand rosaries and rosary leaflets to the members of the congregation.
Manuela returned to Belize in 2005, having gained a degree in finance and economics at John Carrol University in Ohio and an MBA in international banking and finance here in Britain at the University of Birmingham.
When she and her aunt visited the local bishop to discuss the call they both felt they had received, he asked them to design a rosary leaflet and poster for all Catholic school children and to go into the schools nationwide to teach the children about the history and meaning of it and how to use rosary beads.
Manuela was delighted with the bishop’s response, but, at the same time, slightly daunted. There are over 42,000 pupils in the 130 Catholic public schools in Belize. Some are in coastal towns or in the city, while others are in the inner recesses of the rain forest.
In 2008, a few weeks before Manuela was to take the rosary mission into the first school on their list, she was in a car accident and almost died. Undeterred, she persevered in planning a mission trip with students from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
When she returned to Ohio for physiotherapy, her therapist said she was looking for a hobby to pursue. Manuela introduced her to the rosary and before long she had converted one of the rooms in her house into a rosary-making room for the mission in Belize.
During the school visits, Manuela and her team make the sessions lively by relating the mysteries of the rosary to real-life experiences. “Teachers and principals say that the rosary visits provide a fresh perspective to the students about the rosary,” she said. “The lessons reinforce what is being taught in religion classes in some of the schools and clarify what the students know about the rosary and the Blessed Mother’s role in our lives as an
“The sessions also provide renewed energy to the teachers in their quest to impart the faith to the students. After rosary sessions in the schools, students take the time to pray the rosary, internalize the message, and surrender themselves in prayer to God.
At each school, the rosary team gives all teachers and principals packs containing items such as rosary making activity cards for arts and crafts, prayer cards, holy water bottles, and holy medals.
All of these items are donated by sponsors overseas. Each principal also receives a large rosary made by Thomasita and each student receives a Divine Mercy Poster to take home. “All the rosaries we give out in the schools, homes, prisons, and hospitals in Belize are free. We don't charge people for them. We also make a lot of mission rosaries around our kitchen table in Belize with the help of both school children, who get credit for community service, and adults.”
During school visits, the rosary team also takes the opportunity to learn about the needs of the schools and their students. Networks are formed to provide scholarships to needy high school students with high academic potential. Donors from overseas help by donating to the scholarship programme.
Manuela was born in Glasgow to an Irish mother and Belizean father. They were unmarried and her mother didn’t feel ready to bring up a child. So Manuela was taken by her father to Belize, where she was brought up by her grandparents and then, after they died, by Thomasina.
“I got to meet my biological mother in person when I was in my twenties, and I go visit her frequently in Ireland and we have a great friendship now,” said Manuela.
She combined her rosary mission while working for ten years as a financial analyst at Belize Natural Energy Ltd, which she left in 2017. A winner of the Commonwealth Youth Worker Award for the Americas and Caribbean Regions, she is now studying youth ministry and school chaplaincy on a distance learning course with the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham.
She has ambitious plans to build a “rosary centre for education and empowerment” in Belize, and already has the land. The centre will not only promote the rosary, it will also run classes in literacy, Spanish, public speaking, and entrepreneurship.
Additionally, Manuela plans to launch a mentoring scheme for underprivileged young people. A teenager she has mentored is Elsia Pop, who received the International Diana Award in 2017 from Prince William and Prince Harry at St James’ Palace for her work in preserving Mayan culture through storytelling and handicrafts.
Last November, Manuela spoke at the Catholic Student Network Conference in London, where a number of students expressed an interest in learning how to make rosaries to send to Belize. She is looking for volunteers who can come to Belize to teach catechesis, art, maths, literacy, media production and entrepreneurial skills, or help with fundraising.
“I want to share the peace and joy that praying the rosary brings,” said Manuela. “I see the rosary as a chain linking people to each other. It is especially useful for children in poorer countries who often become distracted and pre-occupied with their poverty. The rosary is meant to draw people out of themselves.” 



E M P O W E R I N G  Y O U T H  A N D 
B U I L D I N G  C O M M U N IT Y  
September 2015 Volume 1, Issue 1

In May 2015, the National Catholic Youth Rally was held at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall in Belize City. Buses of students and teachers arrived from all over the country. Over 1000 youth attended.  Dynamic talks were given on the holy spirit.  Alayna, a university student from Columbus Ohio, attended the youth rally and helped the rosary mission by selling Catholic books and religious articles. Alayna was here in Belize doing an undergraduate thesis.  A youth group from Xaibe Village in Belize met with Manuela and Alayna at the youth rally; they spoke about their interests and goals. 


Sixteen children aged 6 to 17 came to the home of Thomasita and Manuela to make rosaries. They had fun while learning how to make rosaries. Altogether, they made almost 400 rosaries! On the last day, their parents brought snacks to share and they had a party. The children prayed for the needs of the rosary mission and for all the benefactors. 


Dear Thomasita, Thank you for everything you did for me while I was in Belize. I couldn't have accomplished what I did without your and Manuela's help. Your generosity has made a huge impact on me, and I will always remember your kindness. I definitely miss sitting with you and talking at the kitchen table about everything and anything. Going to your rosary group with you, having my birthday dinner and cake with you, the view from your veranda, the mango trees, and the cinnamon tea-are all memories that I cherish. After my stay in Belize, my perspective on the world has changed. I've learned that through any cultural differences that people are just people, with similar goals, wants, ideas, and thoughts. Now when I look at Belize on a map or say it aloud, it is no longer just a word or image, but a feeling of recognition and belonging. Since I've been back, I've had tons of people ask how my stay in Belize was. It has been very difficult for me to express in words the metamorphosis that I went through or experiences that I got to experience in my two months stay. I had someone say to me "Belize? Isn't that a really poor country?" to which I was shocked that someone could equate an entire country only to its level of wealth. The wealth I found in Belize is one of a kind. One that could be measured by a welcoming good morning from a stranger on the street, to the sense of community, and a richness of spirit that I have found nowhere else. I look back on my stay in Belize quite fondly, and can't wait until we meet again.  
Love, Alayna

In October 2015, the rosary team will visit six to eight schools in the Corozal District. Will you please be part of our living rosary from  October 1-31, 2015; we will pray for the hearts and minds of the teachers, principals, and students to be open to receive the graces from Our Lady, for strength for all the volunteers and for more benefactors. 

  • Shipping costs to Belize are expensive; we are in need of someone or a  group to help.
  •  Pray for our mission to get an SUV 4 x 4 vehicle which is able to traverse dirt roads in remote areas.  
  • Pray for our mission to get a full-time volunteer. Volunteer responsibilities will include fundraising, organizing and sorting books and religious articles, following up with schools where rosary has been taught, graphic design work, making rosaries, establishing contact with overseas schools and churches to arrange for mission trips to Belize, and teaching children.
  • For more partnerships to be built

Thank you to Saint Joan of Arc Parish in Powell Ohio for helping out with mailing mission items to Belize and for all those who donated mission supplies including the Missions Office of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus Ohio 

Donations needed: Prayer cards, holy medals, daily devotionals, Catholic leaflets, Catholic CD’s, rosaries, and scapulars. These are put in teacher’s packets and given out to teachers.   From Autom: or 1800-521-2914 (New American Bibles, Catholic Book of Prayers, holy water bottles, crucifixes, Saint Benedict Medals, Baptism, Miraculous Medals, First Communion and Confirmation gifts) Funds to pay for the printing of rosary leaflets, rosary posters, Divine Mercy Posters, and Pope pictures. These are given out for free to schools. Each May and October about 3,500 to 4,500 students benefit from these items. It costs about US$234 to pay for the printing of these items for one school


Elsia is a Kekchi Maya 12th grader from the Toledo District in Belize. She is in our handicraft club. Elsia has been learning to do crochet, wrist bands out of beads and sea glass, embroidery, and weaving and going back to her school to teach her classmates. If you are interested in purchasing Elsia’s jewelery, let us know. 

El Rosario October 2010 Volume 2 Issue 1

News from Mary’s Little Jewel Belize Catholic Mission 

Gordon tells his story of the Rosary Mission experience          

Sr. Benedict S.A.C. told her scripture group of the beautiful example Gordon Trotter (UK volunteer) is to their community.  Sr. Benedict is inspired by Gordon’s use of his vacation time to come to Belize to serve.

On my fifth visit to this subtropical gem in Central America, Belize, I came to help distribute rosaries to all Catholic schools in the country. The mission was set up a few years ago under the authority of the local Bishop to increase awareness amongst Catholics in Belize of the power of the rosary.  To date over 40,000 rosaries have been distributed. Many of the rosaries are made in Belize by Thomasita with the help of volunteers. Many are also made by volunteers in the USA and Ireland. The production of rosaries takes up most of the year and twice a year in May and October the Rosary Team visits schools to distribute the rosaries and teach the children how to pray it. Most of the 16 schools visited in the Toledo District in May 2010 were in remote areas that took several hours to reach over rough roads. A local volunteer and Catechist, Ben Juarez, joined the team and was our driver. The reaction of the children to our visits left a lasting impression on me. They were so excited about having visitors to their school. They were always very polite calling me “sir” or “Mr. Gordon”. They paid attention to the instruction on how to use the rosary and said their prayers with enthusiasm. The teachers were grateful for the rosary leaflets and rosaries as it helped explain to them as well the children how to pray the rosary. Some teachers even suggested that materials to explain other aspects of the Catholic faith would be well-received such as information on the Stations of the Cross. I have now returned to my home in the UK but I have taken with me some unforgettable experiences.  As a visitor, I feel privileged to have seen a side of Belize that most visitors would never see.  As a Catholic, I feel that the experience has helped strengthen my faith. With less than a third of the Catholic schools visited there is still much work for the Rosary Mission to do. 

Belizean American Volunteer
In May 2010, a childhood friend of Thomasita, Lillian, visited from California. She brought some Saint Joseph medals and chains which were donated to the confirmation candidates at St. Joseph School in Belize City.  Lillian, accompanied by Thomasita and the Rosary Team, traveled to Guadalupe RC School in Sandhill, Belize District to teach the Rosary to the students there.

Would you like to be a sponsor?
Divine Mercy Posters
2,500   8.5” x 11” posters    $581
1,500   11” x 17”   posters   $615
Rosary Leaflets   $234 per school

Rosary Maker in Cleveland Ohio
Rose Mass started making rosaries about eight years ago in response to a request for volunteers in her parish, St. Michael’s in Independence, Ohio.  Missionaries from the church would then take them to San Salvador. She’s also helped make rosaries for the ministry at St. Peter’s Parish in Naples FL. Rose has made approximately 7,000 rosaries and has touched lots of souls with her ministry. She usually makes at least three a day and at times as many as six or seven a day.  Rose taught her daughter Marijo to make rosaries also. Marijo informed her mother Rose about our ministry in Belize and they made about 1,000 rosaries for our mission this year and will send some more later on in the year.  Thanks to Rose and Marijo Mass for being part of our ministry! May God bless you abundantly.

Columbus, the Christ-bearer: Did you Know?
Did you know that Christopher Columbus was a devout Catholic who believed that God guided him to make his voyage? Did you know that Columbus always saw Divine Providence as his daily guide, and to him, coincidences became messages from God? Did you know that Christopher means “Christ-bearer” and Columbus means “male dove” (the symbol of the Holy Spirit) and that Columbus was convinced that his name predestined him to be a bearer of Christ to the world like his patron saint? Like St. Christopher who carried the Christ Child across the water, Christopher Columbus would bring Christ across the ocean to the new world. Did you know that Columbus’ son Ferdinand noted that his father was extremely strict in prayer and fasting and so devout that Columbus could be mistaken for a member of a religious order? Did you know that Columbus set sail on August 2nd, the feast of Our Lady of the Angels? Did you know that when October approached, Columbus wrote that if he did not see land by the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar (October 12th), he would turn around and go back to Spain? Did you know that it was the custom for the sailors on the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria (the flagship named after Holy Mary) to sing the Salve Regina, a hymn in honor of the Blessed Mother every night at about 7:00 o’clock after reciting their prayers together?
Did you know that Columbus prayed privately in his cabin, but on the night of October 11, 1492, the Admiral decided to sing the Salve Regina with his crew, and at 2:00 A.M. that very morning of October 12, Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, and Beloved Patroness of Ferdinand and Isabella’s Spain, the land was discovered in the Bahamas? Do you see that as St. James the Apostle brought Christianity to Spain (and to whom Our Lady of the Pillar appeared), Christopher Columbus brought Christianity to the New World? Did you know that later that morning Columbus went onshore and claimed the land he had found for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, and name the small island San Salvador (which means “Holy Savior”) in honor of the Savior of the World? Did you know that on Christmas Day, 1492, Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria, sank on a sandbar off Santa Domingo (which means “Holy Lord”), and from the very timbers of the Santa Maria, the sailors built the first settlement in the New World known as La Navidad (Spanish for “Christmas”)? Do you know that there are no coincidences with God?
Christopher Columbus, The Catholic by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. Reprinted with permission.

There are no coincidences with God                   Recently a friend asked me to take her to an elderly home in Belize because her uncle, who lived in another country for several years, was sent into the home in Belize.  Upon visiting her uncle, tears welled up in my eyes. He was in great need of care.  I suggested that we go to mass pray. My friend’s cousin was also at the mass and just before the mass, my friend’s cousin told me of her own father who was recently sent into the same elderly home and about some very sad things he had experienced in the home.  She wanted to take care of her father herself but no longer had the means to do so.  I suggested that she speak to my other friend, as they were both facing the same situation and I knew deep in my heart that they were both presents there to help console each other.  It turns out that the two elderly people in the home both grew up in the same house, were related to each other and both arrived in the elderly home the same week! I sat in the middle of my two friends at mass and prayed about  what I should do, as I knew I was part of this for a reason.   I suggested to one of the friends that since she lived in her own home, that she take her uncle into her house to stay. She was concerned about how her children would respond and how she would manage financially, as she is a single mother earning a small wage.  I told her to take the first step and God would provide and that her children would see love in action. We visited my friend’s uncle in the elderly home the next day and he wanted to leave with us the same day. Coincidentally, or providentially, we arrived at the elderly home just in time for mass, which is only celebrated at the elderly home a few times in the year! My friend introduced her uncle to my other friend’s father and they sat next to each other for the mass. My friend took the first step and told her family that she would be bringing her uncle to the house.  To her surprise, one of her children has already offered to take care of her uncle for at least two months and someone else put in an extra bathroom in her house so that her uncle could have his own private bath. Another person donated a brand new bed and a fan for her uncle’s new room. Praise be to God for all the marvelous things HE has done and continues to do in our lives. Who but God could have orchestrated something like this where these two elderly men would meet again in a home after all these years!   When HE calls us to step out in faith and walk on water, HE holds our hands every step of the way!

Happy birthday to all those born in October!
October 7 - Our Lady of the Rosary
October 8 - Our Lady of Good Remedy
October 11 - The Motherhood of Mary
October 12 - Our Lady of the Pillar, Columbus Day 
October 16 - The Feast of Mary’s Purity

Prayer Intentions                     
  • Up to September 15th, 2010 - there have been 93 murders in Belize, while up to September 15th, 2009, there had been 71 murders, an increase of 22 murders. There have been very close to 670 murders between 2002 and September 2010, of which more than 51% have occurred with guns.  Please pray for the youth of Belize, that they will find their true identity in Christ and live the abundant life in Christ.  56.57% of Belize’s population is under the age of 25. 
  • All those children who assisted with making rosaries this summer, that they will be blessed abundantly and develop a devotion to the Blessed Mother. 
  • Miguel Espat, a rosary maker, lost his brother on September 4th, 2010. Please pray for the deceased (Carlos Espat) and the entire Espat family. 
  • Diocesan priests who will be reassigned to new parishes on October 1st, 2010. 
  • Two school-aged children, Benjamin and Onelia Rash, from the San Marcus village who went missing on August 30th, 2010. We taught these children the rosary at their school.  
  • The upcoming Christ Renews His Parish Retreat on October 16th and 17th, 2010, and the upcoming Catholic Charismatic Convention on November 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2010. 
  • All the benefactors to the rosary ministry.   
  • Strength, zeal, and perseverance for all the volunteers. 
  • Please pray for the nation of Belize! Think of the ways you can help Belize individually or as a group: have a Mass said, offer Mass intentions, offer Holy Communions, pray a Rosary or a decade of the Rosary, pray a novena, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, attend a holy hour, give up something you enjoy.
Coming Up!                 
   The month of October is dedicated to the Most Holy Rosary. The plan for October 2010 is to have a mass said for all your intentions on the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7th).  Then the rosary sessions will begin with the Catholic school in the nation’s capital of Belmopan. The name of the school is Our Lady of Guadalupe RC school. Other schools scheduled are:
St. Joseph RC School, Cotton Tree St. Vincent Pallotti RC School, Unitedville St. Martin de Porres RC School, Blackman Eddy St. Michael RC School, Las Flores Our Lady of Fatima RC School, Roaring Creek St. Jude RC School, Camalote St. Margaret Mary RC School, Camalote

How you can help 
If you want to get involved or feel called to assist our mission, there are lots of ways to help! 
  1. Send donations, Rosary supplies, and religious articles to : Manuela Lue  Mary’s Little Jewel   P. O. Box 197, Belize City, Belize Central America Or, if you want to send monetary donations to a US address, make checks payable to “Mary’s Little Jewel” and send them to: Manuela Lue c/o Gina Sergio, Missions Office, Catholic Diocese  197 E. Gay St. Columbus, OH 43215 The following items are needed: • Prayer    cards    and    saint    medals    for    school    retreats • Finished    Rosaries    &    Rosary    supplies    (beads,  twine, spacers, crucifixes) from Our Lady’s Rosary Makers in Kentucky (www.olrm.org) • Donations for printing  Rosary leaflets, posters and the bookstore catalog • Computer, fax machine, printer,  scanner, photocopier, camera and vehicle to travel to  schools in rural areas
  2. Order religious articles and have them shipped to the following United States address (this will save you international shipping costs). To find the websites, phone numbers, and item information for the most popular religious articles, go to elrosario.wordpress.com.  Ship items to Manuela Lue    7521 Dilido Blvd.    Miramar FL 33023 This year we were able to sponsor six schools for the Rosary project through bookstore sales.
  3. Volunteer to help coordinate our religious catalog and bookstore set up, marketing, and distribution of products and other tasks.
  4. Be a penpal to the students in our mission.
  5.  Some of the students visited did not receive a Divine Mercy Poster, so contributions towards the printing of the cost of the poster would be greatly appreciated. Checks can be made payable to: “Mary’s Little Jewel”
  6. Order one or more of the following from Our 
    Lady’s Rosary Maker’s in Louisville KY at www. olrm.org or by phone: 502-968-1434 plastic mission bead (code M5/A), colors: aqua, •    white, yellow, orchid, pink and brown plastic mission pearlized bead (code: M55), •    colors: aqua, white and ivory (these are to make rosaries for first communion and confirmation candidates) plastic mission bead (code: M4/C), colors: celery leaf green, orange, rose and purple nylon spacers (code: MSP)•  
  7.  We also make chaplets. You can order the following from Autom at www.autom.com or by phone: 1-800-521-2914 Saint Joseph oxidized medals (code: 13012)• Sacred Heart oxidized medals (code: 13025)•    Infant of Prague oxidized medals (code: 13010)•    27” stainless steel chain (code: 14667) 
  8. We also distribute CDs. The following are the most popular and can be ordered from the Mary Foundation in Fairview Park Ohio at www. catholiccity.com: Confession, Healing and Holiness, the Mass explained, Marriage and the Eucharist, The Rosary &  Divine Mercy Chaplet
Thank you! Thanks to Joe, Al and Irene, Marijo, Gina, Pat, and Pamela for sending material for our rosary ministry in the schools this past year. Thanks to Bonnie for all your help in providing valuable networks over the last couple of months!!  Thanks to Jennifer and Ann for all the wonderful graphic design work!! Thanks to a very special person who donated a new laptop to the ministry. To all those who volunteered in some way and/or provided financial support, a big thank you!!! Thanks for all your prayers!

Mary’s Little Jewel Catholic Mission started during Easter 2003.  The purpose of our mission is to provide a rosary and rosary leaflet to every Catholic family in Belize so that they can pray the Rosary together as a family.  We also provide Divine Mercy posters along with the Rosaries to students so that they can visualize Mary and Jesus and be reminded of God’s unfathomable mercy.

El Rosario September 2009 Volume 1 Issue 3
News from Mary’s Little Jewel Belize Catholic Mission 

First Communion Celebration   
As part of the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s outreach, six girls whose families are regular members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society were given sacramental preparation classes.  We obtained beautiful apparel for them to wear to their first Holy Communion celebration at Divine Mercy Parish.  What a joyful celebration it was with family, friends, and refreshments in the parish hall after Mass. 

DVD filming                    
In March, four young men who volunteer at the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) mission in Benque Viejo del Carmen by the Guatemalan border acted as leaders to a group of over 40 youth (ages 4-19) who gathered at the Catholic Diocesan Center in downtown Belize City.  These youth gathered for a DVD filming by Fr. John Maher, S.J., and were interviewed by Manuela Lue and Phonice Auil.   These four young men are on fire for Christ and spoke about their relationship with God.  Harry, the leader of the group, said that it was very important for him to maintain a consistent prayer life and frequent the sacraments in today’s world where following Christ is countercultural.  Harry wears his scapular for strength, protection, and as a way to show devotion to Our Lady. The youth group of Divine Mercy Church was very inspiring; they shared from their hearts how they practiced their faith at home as a child and how it has grown over the years. Jani Reyes shared how she prayed the rosary with her grandmother as a little girl.  A common theme among the teenagers was the importance of knowing their identity in Christ and their quest to learn more about the Catholic faith. They described the saint they identified most with and Michael described the activities of the group:  Friday night bonfires where they invite youth from other parishes to gather around a fire and sing and play games, movie nights where they watch movies such as The Passion of Christ and The Bethlehem Story, Bible Sharing Classes, Adoration nights and fundraising events they led to finance their World Youth Day trip to Sydney, Australia last year. They ended their session with “Viva Cristo Rey!”  
The First Grade children’s choir of Holy Redeemer School gathered at the Cathedral and was certainly not camera shy. They were robed in their burgundy gowns and sang at the top of their voices, danced, and clapped their hands as their teacher played the piano to the tune of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.” The principal of St. Joseph primary school, Mrs. Torres, traveled to the Diocesan Center with a couple of teachers and several students to be interviewed for the DVD.  Gabriela, one of the students described how she eagerly awaited the arrival of the Rosary team to their school last year. Gabriela said that we should pray the Rosary so that Our Lady can bless us and so that we can have peace in our country.  Dulce, another student, said that St. Joseph is her favorite saint because he helped Mary through rough times. Mrs. Torres encourages the students in her school to have a devotion to St. Joseph, as he was a good role model for Jesus.   The other students described what a gift the Rosary leaflets and Rosaries were to their school! Seven-year-old Chloe and four-year-old AJ, children of Phonics and Alan Auil, described their daily prayer life as a family, with their parents reading them Bible stories at night and praying the Rosary with them before bed. Alan added that it was a family tradition to pray with the children before meals and while he drove them to school.  Chloe shared how she prays for her mom, dad, bishops, priests, the pope, sister, brother, the religious, friends, family, and teachers. The DVD was distributed to youth groups and individuals throughout the United States to build relationships between youth in Belize and youth abroad. The DVD also served as a great followup to the Rosary evangelization project in the schools.

Four Backpackers travel Central America teaching art to kids                     
What an adventure!  Emily, Annalise, Brittany, and Jen, recent university graduates from California and Arizona, are traveling through Central America by bus to teach art to children.  Before their trip, they gathered art supplies donated by several schools, churches, and individuals in the United States and brought them by bus from Chetumal, Mexico to Belize City. They taught Vacation Bible School (VBS) to the children of Divine Mercy Parish.  The girls came up with a great week of lesson plans that merged art with scripture and fun! They taught well-known Bible stories to the kids who drew the scenes on paper. At the end of the week, they compiled each child’s art collection into a booklet so they could take home their own picture Bible. Zoila Lopez, President of St. Vincent de Paul Society (Divine Mercy Chapter), welcomed the girls to Divine Mercy Catholic Church and led everyone in prayer before the beginning of VBS. In the mornings from 8 am-12 pm the girls taught over 70 children (ages 4-12) who traveled from all over the country to be at the VBS art class. Carlos, whose 7-year-old son Christian is a budding artist, took time off from work to escort his children one hour away to VBS. Manuela and Sandra volunteered the first day to help out and initially, were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of excited voices and eager little hands; however, the children soon melted their hearts.  One of the girls remarked, “Throughout the week we have heard some truly amazing stories, as some of these children have already dealt with life experiences some of us will fortunately never encounter. Their remarkable good behavior, ‘awww moment’ encouragement, and support of each other blow our minds each day. We are learning just as much from them as they are from us.” The girls stayed at Thomasita’s home in Belize City. They started calling her “Tia” (Spanish for Aunt).  Tia enjoyed cooking Belizean food for the girls and took them all around Belize City to see the sights, learn about the history of the city, and meet her family and friends. The girls also taught art to 48 children in the Cayo District (the largest district in Belize) for a day. The older children were under the thatched palapa. The highlight of the day was painting.  Rocks were collected and the children painted on the rocks as they learned about the environment through art.
Religious Catalog coming together  
This past summer, a friend remarked, “Manuela, why don’t you do a catalog to be distributed to the schools, prayer groups, rosary groups, and churches throughout the country? You have been gathering the inventory for some time. Now you need to find a way to reach the masses.”  And so, our first Catholic catalog is coming together. I visited the United States twice recently where I networked with several Catholic manufacturers and purchased some books and religious articles for the mission. When I told them about the catalog we are planning to produce, several of them offered suggestions based on experience with their own catalogs.  The new religious articles have just arrived in Belize.  New items include eyeglass chains and cell phone accessories with small crucifixes and medals of Jesus and Mary.  Gordon, a volunteer from England, has been diligently logging the religious articles and Catholic books in England before his recent visit to Belize. Gordon is coming back to Belize in October to assist in the schools with the Rosary evangelization project. Ann Bernklau, a recent graduate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, is here in Belize helping us finalizing the inventory listing for the catalog. Ann has experience in graphic design; her most recent work being for the John Paul the Great Legacy Project in Washington, D.C.  Ann is from Oregon and has a sister in the SOLT religious community, Sr. Mary Joy. Ann and Gordon have been photographing some of the religious books for the catalog. Ann has just returned from a couple of days in the SOLT mission in Benque Viejo where she visited Iliana, Dave, and Brynne, fellow graduates of Franciscan University. Ann met my godmother’s two grandchildren, 1-year-old Gladys Margarita and 5-year-old Beverly, who will be featured in our catalog wearing Catholic apparel for infants.

Helping from Afar    
On my recent trip to Columbus Ohio, Lisa (who has worked with Abbey Press for several years) drove from Santa Claus, Indiana to meet and discuss how she can help us with the design and layout of our catalog.  Lisa has several connections with other Catholic publishers and distributors and is assisting with the catalog from the United States.  More Rosary makers contribute to our mission
Sr. Mary Roberta, of the Sisters of the Visitation in Washington DC, connected us with a special rosary maker Stephanie Dannemiller, who sends us blue knotted rosaries! Stephanie is from the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, and is part of the Silverado Blue International Rosary Prayer Group, a unique prayer family dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message to Juan Diego. Marijo Mass, from Porter Wright law firm in Columbus Ohio, started making rosaries for our mission. Her mom, who lives in Cleveland, still makes rosaries and Marijo learned the skill from her mom.  Manuela met with Marijo during her short trip to Columbus in August and shared about how they can continue to spread the rosary devotion across the miles.   

Local Rosary makers
Espat faithfully comes to make Rosaries each weekend when he is not at work.  Miguel has learned not only to string the beads but also to do the knots. Neri Matus, Manager of Banking and Supervision at the Central Bank of Belize, also comes to put on the crucifix on the Rosaries.  Several Rosaries are made each week, but the demand is so high. We are always in need of finished Rosaries and Rosary making material.  Contributions are always welcome.

Local Contributors
A Belizean company has chosen the Toledo District, the poorest district in Belize, and agreed to sponsor the schools from which their employees graduated. Sponsorships are needed for the printing of the Rosary leaflets, which costs approximately $233.75 USD per school.  Five schools are sponsored by the company.  There are 25  more schools in the Toledo District, many of which are in rural areas.  Would you like to be a sponsor?  Students pray for their benefactors. These are the 25 schools requiring sponsorships: 

Aguacate, Barranco, Blue Creek, Cattle Landing, Conejo Creek, Corazon, Crique Sarco, Dolores, Little Flower Fairview, Indian Creek, Machakila, Otoxha, Pueblo Viejo. San Benito, San Jose, San Lucas, San Miguel, San Pedro Toledo, San Vincente, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Silver Creek, Sunday Wood, San Marcos, Indian Ville.

In addition, the following seven schools require sponsorships in the Belize District for October 2009: Saint Catherine Academy High School, Pallotti High School, Bermudian Landing, Burrell Boom, Guadalupe, Maskall, and Rancho Dolores.

Coming up...
On October 10, 2009, as part of the international Rosary crusade, Rosary groups throughout Belize City will gather in Central Park to pray the Rosary for world peace and for Belize.  Groups are presently preparing banners with Marian messages.

Opening of new Catholic radio station
The Papal Nuncio His Excellency Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto along with the Catholic Bishop of Belize, the Most Rev. Dorrick Wright, and Fr. Jim Blount SOLT, blessed the Catholic radio station on September 20, 2009. People gathered from all the parishes within Belize City and beyond to show their support for this great work of evangelization in our country. The Papal Nuncio highlighted the importance of communication through the mass media for the salvation of souls.

Early start to school Rosary project
Sr. Alicia Buddan SAC, President of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Belize and Campus Minister at St. John’s College Sixth Form, has arranged for the Rosary team to visit St. John’s College this week. We just started today and the enthusiasm of the youth and the questions asked about prayer were very energizing.  The Rosary team has been busy packing leaflets, rosaries, and prayer cards for the Rosary session.  Please pray for the hearts of the students and teachers to be open to receiving the message of this beautiful form of prayer. So far, we have taught 7,041 children in 9 schools.  We still have 121 schools and 31,802 students to teach nationwide! Our next stop is to finish the schools in the Belize District rural areas and teach all the Catholic High Schools in Belize City.

Rosary makers on the road
Thomasita and Manuela are going to teach rosary making to the Legion of Mary Group in San Pedro Ambergris Caye the first week of October.  The group requested beginners rosary making kits and are ready to take on the challenge.

Fruits of the Rosary mission
Children are asking their parents to pray the Rosary, and parents are re-acquainting themselves with the mysteries.  A few teachers expressed their gratitude for the Rosaries because in the past the children had to pray with their fingers.  Several of the boys at St. John’s College asked for Rosaries for their families and have volunteered to assist with the Rosary Rally on October 10. The response of the principals, pastors, and teachers is very encouraging as they open their doors to the Rosary project.


El Rosario 
Belize Catholic Mission
November 2008

Rosary Project Energises  Belize’s Schoolchildren 
Our rosary team in Belize provided a breath of fresh air in the schools during the month of October 2008  amidst severe flooding across the country that destroyed many homes,  made many roads impassable,  and caused businesses to be shut down for days.    The rosary project came about at the request of the Catholic Bishop of Belize. As our team stepped out  in faith, others joined and we did  not  envision  the  incredible  journey the Lord would take us on  through  our  “Yes.”  We have witnessed changed lives,  relationships healed, and miracles.  Each day is different and the Lord surprises us in new ways.  

At the Islands   
  As  I  taught the children at the  Roman  Catholic primary school on one of Belize’s many islands, Caye Caulker,  the spark in their eyes as they listen attentively to the teaching on the rosary and their excitement at learning how to use the rosary beads leave a  lasting impression.  At  San  Pedro  Ambergris Caye, another one of  Belize’s islands,  as we went from class to class, the love we received from the children gave us all the strength we needed to continue as they stood to greet us so warmly.  The standard two class stood up and said,  “Good  Afternoon,  Manuela Lue of the Rosary Project distributes food basket to flood victims. 
Welcome to Standard Two.” As  I  departed  the  island  in  the  evening a couple of students saw  me  at  the  airport  and  said,  
“Goodbye Miss Manuela.”

Visual Effects  
At Belize Elementary School, a  private school run by a board of directors, Fr. Jim Blount SOLT,  who  accompanied  the  rosary  team, welcomed  the children  as  they 
 gathered  in  the  auditorium by saying, “Do you  love 
Jesus?.” Each child in the schools visited was also given colorful Divine Mercy posters, as a  special gift,  to take home.  One local volunteer,  Phonice  Auil,  thanks our Lord for being part of this beautiful ministry.  As the team travels from school to school,  Phonice is filled with so much love for  God and for the children ‐ love she didn’t know she had.  Phonice recalls a  little boy with special needs from Our Lady of the  Way  School who was brought back to the group by his homeroom teacher asking for prayers from the rosary team.   The teacher said that when he had 
received the picture of the Divine  Mercy, the child just couldn’t stop  kissing the picture of our Lord and  kept saying that “this Man will save  my  uncle.”  Apparently, his uncle had died after being hit by a truck,  and he believes that Jesus will save him. Phonice says, “he wasn’t just an ordinary boy – he was special –  special not because of his disability  but because he was touched by the  Holy  Spirit.”  This brought tears to  Phonice’s eyes as the team laid hands on this boy.  That day the entire team was full of joy at the profound transformation in the child.  This is only one of many blessings brought about by this work of evangelization.  The project aims to teach the children about the  history and meaning of the rosary and to show them how to pray using the rosary beads.  
On the Road
 As the team moved on to  Saint  John  Vianney  School,  the infant division got on their knees when they entered the church and they prayed,  “O  Sacrament, Most Holy, O Sacrament  Divine. All praise and all thanksgiving  be every moment Thine.” The voices of the children singing in the church could be heard in the principal’s office as they sang  “Immaculate  Mary” at the end of the session. It is amazing to see the little ones praying so gracefully. Some of them even bow their heads and close their eyes when praying the rosary.  Another helper,  Zoila  Lopez,  who is also the head of the St.  Vincent de  Paul  Society,  says that the anointing of the  Holy  Spirit was very powerful in one of the classes at Holy Redeemer  School as they prayed the rosary.  At  St.  Ignatius  School,  the teachers eagerly awaited the arrival of the rosary project in their school. The hugs the team receives from the children and the smiles on their faces show their joy at learning more about the life of Jesus and Mary.  Claudia  Avilez, a teacher at  St.  Joseph  School in  Belize  City,  remarks that through the rosary project,  the children are becoming more aware of the beauty and power of the rosary and their motivation has increased. Claudia offered to have her class make rosaries for the mission.  The rosary posters and leaflets left in each school are visual reminders for the children and tools for learning the prayers of the rosary.  Many classes have a  prayer corner where a  Bible,  statues, and rosaries are placed.  The rosary poster is a  colorful adornment for each class.  

Widespread  Results
 Some  of  the  children  have  already  started  asking their parents to pray the  rosary,  even  if  just  a  decade.  Some parents are re‐acquainting  themselves  with  the  mysteries  so as to pray together with their  families.  Some  teachers  are  happy  to  receive  rosaries  for  their school because in the past  when they taught the rosary in  class, the children would have to  use  their  fingers  to  follow  and  the few rosary leaflets they had were old and torn. The response  of  the  principals,  pastors  and  teachers  is  very  encouraging  as they open  their  doors  to the rosary  project.  

From a  Distance  
While  receiving  physical  therapy  in  Columbus,  
 Ohio, this  year,  my  therapist  (Maria  Rosario  
Gutierrez,  who has the same name as my godmother), expressed her desire to make rosaries for the mission in Belize.  I  introduced her to my friend and rosary maker,  Irene  Cassady,  in  Columbus,  and  Irene taught Maria to make rosaries.  In addition,  Maria also gathered a  group of people from Columbus and taught them how to make rosaries. They sent 1,000 of their finished rosaries for the rosary project in  Belize.

 New  Developments
 A  new family has volunteered to make rosaries and when people drop by our mission,  many stay to help fold the hundreds of rosary leaflets.  A  volunteer from England served in our mission for three weeks over the summer and brought religious articles for the mission. This was his second visit to Belize  and  the  informational  packages  on  the  rosary  he  brought  on  his  first  visit  were  distributed  to  teachers  across  
the country. 

The Road  Ahead 
 We  have  completed  eight  schools  during  the
month of October and have  over  110  more  schools 
 to  visit  across the country, 30 of which are in Belize’s poorest district,  Toledo,  next  to  the  Guatemalan  
border.  Mayan  Indians make up a significant  proportion of the students in  the  Toledo  District.  The  project  has  been  so  educational  that  the  high  schools and a Catholic junior  college have requested that it  be 
introduced in their school. 


El Rosario 
Belize Catholic Mission
April 2008

Rosary Project targets 80,000
he target is 80,000 mission rosaries and rosary leaflets and 4,366 rosary posters. According to the Ministry of Education in Belize, total school enrollment is 88,541. This includes students up to junior college level.   So far, my aunt and I have distributed over 30,000 mission rosaries and rosary leaflets free of cost, funded primarily from our bookstore project. With the help of volunteers, we have already “made” several thousand mission rosaries ourselves. Over the past year, we have made special rosaries for 170 first communion and confirmation children at St. Joseph school and donated them to the school. Bishop Emeritus OP Martin requested that my aunt I go into all the Catholic schools in the country: to teach the children how to pray the rosary; to leave rosaries in the schools for the children to use; to design and put up a rosary poster in each classroom, and to leave rosary leaflets in the school for the children to use. 

Although the majority of the schools in Belize are Roman Catholic, many of the parents who send their children to other schools request that their children receive sacramental preparation classes from the Catholic church.  This is so much so that in one of Belize’s main islands, San Pedro Ambergris, the only religious sister stationed at one of the major Catholic churches in Belize City had to be transferred to the island to teach the Catholic faith to children in private schools. A local printing company, The Angelus Press Ltd., has been contracted to do the printing at an approximate cost of US$233.75 per school.  The total goal for this project is US$35,530, of which US$233.75 for the first school has already been reached, with St. Martin school in Belize City.  Over the next three years, we plan to make 40,000 mission rosaries in Belize with material purchased from Our Lady’s Rosary Makers in Louisville KY. The cost of the rosary material, plus shipping is US$10,453.

How you can help:
∗ Purchase mission rosary supplies and ship them ∗ Ask those who are visiting Belize to bring mission rosaries ∗ Make a financial contribution towards the cost of printing rosary leaflets and posters for schools ∗ Mail completed mission rosaries ∗ Send rosary leaflets ∗ Network with other rosary makers or rosary distributors ∗ Provide a vehicle (preferably a van) to traverse the dirt roads in the remote areas of the country to reach school children 
Why you should contribute: 
The objective is to facilitate the new evangelization using the bookstore medium to educate people on the truths of the Catholic faith. The goals of the Catholic bookstore and rosary project are to address the root cause of increasing immorality, economic inequality, and social breakdown in Belize and to unite families in love.  Once people have an awareness of who they are in Christ, people should be able to build stronger families. Stronger families will lead to stronger communities, which will lead to a stronger Belize.  There will also be a campaign for students to complete school, hopefully resulting in a higher primary school completion rate, less crime and homelessness, a workforce with a strong work ethic, and increased productivity. Pope Pius XI: “Charity for the Missions surpasses every other work of charity, even as the soul surpasses the body, or heaven surpasses the earth, or eternity surpasses time."

Catholics, where should we go?  
Katie, one of the co-leaders of the recent Franciscan University of Steubenville mission trip to Belize, asked “where should we go, what should we talk about, how many people will attend, who will take us to the mission sites, where will we stay?” These questions arrived two weeks before my car accident.  So when I came home from the hospital to recover, I became an organizer, adviser, prayer partner, and hostess. According to Jamie, one of the co-leaders of the mission team, “Never have I been to a country or met a people so willing to give the Lord a try. This 
country has what I would call amazing potential to be a country set on fire with the Catholic faith.” 
My family and friends tell me, “Please hold on to life. There is so much work for you to do.”  As I ponder what I have left to do, I heard Catholic lay evangelist Jesse Romero: “We, as Catholic Christians, we don’t even begin to realize that we are sitting on a treasure chest. And …when we cross the threshold of eternity and we look back at this lifetime, we’re going to say, “how come I didn’t do more for the faith?” 
Rosary Project 
Some of the many ways you help! You let me stay at your house for months. You loan me your car to drive for months. I couldn’t fit anything else in my suitcase and I left religious books, articles, and rosaries in your house until the next time I was back in the US. You allowed me to use your living room floor to pack and unpack supplies to Belize….many times for several hours!! You talked to me for hours in restaurants, sometimes even past midnight. You let me use your addresses. You sent rosaries for us. You designed cards and sent them to me.  You allowed me to stay at your house when you were away. You gave me the use of your telephone to be used to receive messages on my behalf and then e-mailed the message(s) to me later. You introduced me to your friends who can help me. You sent special clothing items that are not available here. You took me to the post office to pay for an entire van load of supplies. You mailboxes and boxes of supplies here to Belize on a regular basis. You pray for our mission. Thanks for all you do!!   

Catholic Bookstore Fills A Void As It Takes Shape 

For almost five years, my aunt and I have operated a small Catholic bookstore out of our home, which we started in order to fund our rosary ministry.  Our first product was the finger rosary and our first book was “My Daily Bread.” Now, we have first communion, confirmation, baptism gifts, and other religious goods as well as books from 16 publishers. 
Why a Catholic Bookstore in Belize 
People have been leaving the Catholic religion in droves, one of the reasons being that they are not being fed. In the last two decades, evangelical Protestant groups have been particularly successful in making inroads among the people.  Catholics represent approximately 50% of the total population.  Not too long ago, 80% of the population was Roman Catholic. The breakdown of the family unit is a major contributory cause of crime. From January 1 to April 7,  2008, twenty-nine people died as a result of murder in Belize; 22 of the victims were 30 years old or under.   People are longing for healing and hope.  Just before the Franciscan University Mission team arrived in Belize, people everywhere asked, ‘will there be a healing service?’ Religious articles are tangible reminders of what we really are about, tools for evangelization, and gifts for life. Books enlighten, inspire, and teach the treasures of the Catholic faith. 
The bookstore flourishes 
Success is measured more in terms of changed lives and the number of customers who call on our door than in terms of profitability. Marybeth buys 20 Divine Mercy Cards so that she can pass them out to her husband’s family as they pray for her husband’s father who is dying. Linda, a widow with 13 siblings who does door-to-door evangelization, teaches others the virtues of Mary by buying several copies of the book “True Devotion to Mary.” Book sales are high enough to cover all expenses to Belize. There is still money left over to invest in our rosary ministry to make an average of 100 mission rosaries a week. We have found innovative ways to serve. We are now teaching different forms of prayer styles and Catechism and Bible classes will follow shortly.

Quenching the thirst

Participants of the Christ Renews His Parish Retreat program (now amounting to a little over 400) are looking for material to nurture their spiritual growth. Preparing the way. With the national Catholic radio station coming on air in January of 2009, local and international guests on the air can leave copies of their material in our bookstore and locals will have a resource base to nourish their faith.  
The need for expansion 
With a total regular clientele of 30 customers nationwide (18 of whom belong to our rosary group), there has become a need to expand the bookstore out of our home and into a building: When visitors stay over, the religious articles’ makeshift display which is on top of a queen-size sofa bed in the living room needs to be dismantled. The majority of the books in demand are not available anywhere in the country. 

Who will benefit from the bookstore 

Lambs”—The young children, the new people who are coming into the Catholic Church, and those who have strayed and are coming back need spiritual nourishment.   “Sheep”—Teachers, young adults in their 20’s and 30’s and teenagers will be nurtured with spiritual food to rediscover the basics and pass it on.  Older adults will have books available that enable them to grow in their faith. A centralized public location will make it possible for the entire population of Belize (311,500) to benefit.   50.27% of the population is under the age of 19, and one of the primary ‘target’ audiences will be the youth. 
Where  it will be built 

The new bookstore will be built on land which has already been purchased in a neighborhood surrounded by eight schools, two hospitals, and a popular seafood restaurant. 
What will be displayed 

Orthodox material that reflects the fullness of the Magisterium will be available. 
Books: Apologetics and Catechetics, Reference, Prayer, Heritage and Saints, Family, The Parish. 
Other: CD’s/Audio (Musical, teaching CDs and books on CDs), DVDs/Video, Catholic Jewelry, Religious Goods, Apparel, and Church Supplies. Modern-day evangelists such as Fr. Bill Casey, James Keating, Matthew Kelley, Fr. Bill McCarthy, Jesse Romero, Jeff Cavins, Scott Hahn, Sr. Ann Shields, Sr. Briege McKenna, Fr. John Corapi, Ralph Martin, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Johnette Benkovich, Mother Nadine Brown, Fr. Robert de Grandis, Fr. Larry Richards, Jason Evert, Fr. Donald Calloway, Christopher West will be featured. 
Specials: Made in Belize Products: 1) Paintings of religious figures by Mike Mauricio 2) Candles with a religious image by Felix Canul, an entrepreneur with a home-based candle making business 3) Schoolchildren will be invited to draw frontages of holy cards for display in the bookstore. Special section on Our Lady of Guadalupe with statues and other religious articles imported from Mexico 
A place for learning and sharing

There will be a room for youth to listen to CDs and DVD’s on various topics relating to the faith.  This room will also be available for Catechism classes, Bible studies, apologetics classes, and mini-retreats. A couple who are retreat directors in the USA has already volunteered their time to give retreats. The rosary ministry will be housed inside the bookstore to facilitate teaching more volunteers how to make mission rosaries and therefore production of more mission rosaries. 
A preliminary estimate for Phase I of the construction of the bookstore is US$70,000 plus US$25,000 for furniture and fixtures, totaling US$95,000. The time frame for completion of Phase I is November 2008. Beginning Inventory US$100,000 Phase II will involve the construction of a warehouse facility two and a half miles outside the city center at an estimated cost of US$80,000. The time frame for completion of Phase II is February 2009. This warehouse facility will be converted into a makeshift bookstore in the event of a fire. 
How You Can Help
• Make a financial contribution towards the cost of the construction, furniture, and fixtures.
• Buy inventory and mail the items to Belize.  An inventory listing of books, religious articles, and apparel needed is provided in the other attachment.
• Hold a book drive in your area.
• Volunteer for a year or two to work in the bookstore. Two volunteers are needed, especially those who can also teach the faith (Catechism Classes, Bible studies, Apologetics). 
Mary's Little Jewel