|Fr Alphonse Nazarro blesses the new grotto.|
September 15, 2009. Irving, Texas. On September 8th, the day
the Church celebrates Mary´s birth, Highlands students, alumni, faculty, and
founders, along with Legionary priests and consecrated members of Regnum
Christi, gathered for the dedication and blessing of the school´s
newly constructed Marian Grotto.
The grotto came to life through
donations of money, time, and talent from many members of
the Highlands community. The designer, Natalie Johnson, said it was
"a project He wanted done." Mother of four and volunteer
at The Highlands, Natalie put her talents for art and
landscaping at the service of her faith.
"This was a
faith journey for so many of us,” she said. “It
wasn´t me or any of us; it was the good
Lord and Savior, because he wanted his sheep fed. It
was hair-raising, how God had His hand on the whole
A symbolic space
Everything in the garden, from the plants
to the layout of the statue of Mary, the cross,
and the image of the Eucharist in the center, has
some symbolic meaning related to the life and passion of
Jesus and Mary.
|The new grotto was a community effort, and was designed by Highlands parent, Natalie Johnson.|
A cluster of yucca plants, also called
the Lord´s Candle, stand at either end of the garden
entrance. Fragrant rosemary, which is thought to have provided shelter
for the Holy Family on their flight to Egypt, can
be found throughout the grounds. An iris named Mary´s Sword
is situated between the statue of Mary and the cross
a few yards away.
The pathway running through the grotto is
paved with cobblestone, which is meant to be evocative of
the streets of Jerusalem. There is a rosary within the
cobblestone pathway, and an image of the Eucharist is placed
in the center of the garden, surrounded by the names
of the twelve apostles engraved on the stones.
is to the cross, and she faces the risen Christ in
the Eucharist. The water flowing from the cross represents the
blood and mercy poured out for all through Christ´s ultimate
sacrifice. At the bottom of the cross there is the
representation of the multiplication of the loaves.
A reminder of
|Everything in the garden has some symbolic meaning related to the life and passion of Jesus and Mary|
"The image and garden surrounding Mary was created as
an act of love and passion so members of the
Highlands community may reflect on her love during their travels
of the day," said Executive Director John Borley.
Father Alphonse Nazarro
reminded the audience that Mary is famous for saying "yes"
to God. "Every time we say yes to God, He
will transform it into something beautiful." Before blessing the grotto
and leading everyone present in a decade of the Rosary,
he helped them to visualize the barren dusty spot before
Landscaper James Scott with Blue Sky Landscape helped to
make Natalie´s vision a reality. However, the garden would not
have been possible without the following financial donors who said
"yes" without hesitation when asked for assistance: Mr. and Mrs.
Eduardo Diaz, Drs. Marco and Gabriella Navarro, Mr. and Mrs.
Adrian Sada, Mrs. David Welty, and Mr. and Mrs. Mike
Dimmel. Also, $1000 of funds raised during a school boosterthon
last year went towards the completion of the garden.
Church has designated 2009 as the year of the Priest,
The Highlands has offered this labor of love as a
symbol that unites all suffering to the Holy Mother Church.
"We pray to the Holy Spirit to strengthen those who
have said yes to the call to the priesthood-past, present,
and to come."
About The Highlands School
Established in 1986, The Highlands
School is a Catholic college-preparatory school. Offering grades Pre-K through
12th, the mission of The Highlands School is the development
of the whole person through Integral Formation®, consisting of a
profound intellectual, human, apostolic, and spiritual formation. Personalized attention from
faculty, staff, and religious provides each student with the maximum
opportunity for growth.
For more information about The Highlands School, visit
the web site at www.thehighlandsschool.org.