by Katie Peterson
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When two Sisters from the Fraternity the Poor of Jesus Christ here joined members of the Holy Family School of Faith of Overland Park on a weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January 2019, a relationship between the two entities quickly developed.
Just one year later, that relationship led to a collaboration to further reach the Hispanic community in teaching the faith with a new “old” way of praying the rosary.
Since August 2018, Holy Family School of Faith has released a daily rosary meditation podcast that focuses on St. Dominic’s way of praying the rosary from the 12th century. Instead of following the structured mysteries of the rosary, which did not yet exist at the time, the saint shared his own reflections on the life of Christ in between each decade.
“It’s more of a ‘here’s a teaching of the day’ broken up into five bite-size chunks. And after each bite-size piece, we have a brief meditation before we pray a decade of the rosary,” said Chris Hillyer, Holy Family director of membership.
Dr. Mike Scherschligt, co-founder of Holy Family, first reintroduced this old way of praying the rosary to a group of eight businessmen as a way to encourage them to maintain a more consistent prayer life. As word spread about this method, it grew into the daily podcast led by Scherschligt (or sometimes co-founder Dr. Troy Hinkel) and has since garnered more than 14,000 listeners.
This podcast is what provincial Sister Miracles of the Little Way, PJC, learned about on the trip to the Holy Land.
“We have a large ministry in Kansas City with the Hispanic community, and so we had the idea of maybe starting something similar, but we just didn’t know how we could do it,” Sister Miracles said.
Starting in April 2020, the two entities collaborated to translate two years’ worth of recorded meditations from the English podcast to Spanish, which were then recorded by Sister Miracles. The Spanish podcast officially launched Dec. 12, 2020, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe via rosariodiario.net.
“Our dream for [the podcast] is to reach thousands of Spanish-speaking Kansas Citians to help them to love, to learn and to live their Catholic faith,” Hillyer said.
Sister Miracles agreed.
“If we have set up a real prayer life, we need resolutions for our days, and those meditations will help us to keep up with our resolutions,” she said. “Many times, there will be some points during the meditations that will question or ask about some things that could change our lives. . . . [They are] simple questions, but it leads us to a deeper relationship with God.”
Hillyer said having the podcasts available in Spanish helps reach the Hispanic community more deeply.
“You might have great language skills, but if you haven’t spoken about religion or theology [in a foreign language], those are new words,” he said. “By starting the Spanish podcast, we could have that daily feeding of the Spanish community that they weren’t getting in their native language — the language that they want to learn and pray in.”
Hillyer said the response has been positive. One native Spanish speaker told him she almost cried the first time she heard it “because she appreciated so much the effort to deliver this in her native tongue,” Hillyer said. “She wanted to pray in her own language to understand it better.”
Sister Miracles added that she’s been told by many that it’s been a “moment of formation” for several listeners.
Hillyer said the podcast has been an entry point for continued formation for further programs of spiritual development for Americans and the launch of smaller Spanish programs.
One such participant in that program is Manuel Soto, who has participated in both.
“It has been a beautiful experience,” Soto said.
Hillyer said additional support is needed to further enhance the Spanish programs.
“Together we can strengthen the family and faith life of the Hispanic community of Kansas City and beyond,” he said.
Subscribe to the podcast
The English podcast is also available live at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays on the Holy Family School of Faith YouTube Channel.