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New prayer garden at St. Joe's

July 13, 2011 - Tuesday, June 21 was a good day to be outside. It was such a nice morning that St. Joseph Catholic Church associate pastor Fr. Darrell Roman took the Word outside he invited parishioners to celebrate the 9 a.m. daily mass out to enjoy the church's new outdoor education and prayer garden.

According to church members, the new garden near the pond is a place for students to study, perform science experiments and pray. Last year, Garrett Altenberger, chair of the St. Joe's School Activities Committee for Student Council and Ryan Michalec created a design for the outdoor classroom. Student Council raised $2,000 for the project. Last spring, all of the classes created paver stones for Earth Day 2010.

This past fall, students raked leaves at the site and began the project in earnest. Over 500 man-hours went into the project as alumni, students and parents moved sod, laid timbers, built benches and even learned how to dig holes with a post hole digger.

The Zaraga family donated landscaping. Alumni Colin Fulton of Oakwood Turf Management, did the planting. The pine tree garden area was created by students Grace Wysocki, Nathan Engler and Matthew Winiarski. The ceramic top table (which can also be used as an altar for outdoor liturgies) was created by Ken Fuhr. The rubber mulch under the benches is made from recycled tires—environmentally friendly, lasting for 25 years or more. Mr and Mrs. Ken Fuhr, teachers at St. Joseph School, were key in sponsoring, creating and seeing this project through from start to finish.

The project was completed on May 21 and a formal dedication and blessing is planned for early fall.

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