First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

Yonkers Teen Constructs Living Rosary for Eagle Scout Project
By DAN PIETRAFESA
Maria R. Bastone
Father Brendan Gormley, parochial vicar of St. Anthony’s parish in Yonkers, leads more than 100 people in reciting the Rosary, using the Living Rosary constructed by 14-year-old Colin Nowak for his Eagle Scout community service project, May 12.

Attending a Living Rosary service at neighboring Christ the King parish inspired Colin Nowak to create a similar evening for his home parish, St. Anthony’s in Yonkers.

Nowak, 14, took the leadership role in constructing a Living Rosary for his Eagle Scout project, which was first used at a Rosary prayer service at his parish on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima May 12.

The Boy Scout in Troop 29 in Yonkers will soon join his 18-year-old brother Zach as an Eagle Scout.

“It’s something I knew our parish didn’t have and I thought it would be a great idea to make one for my church for my project,” Nowak told CNY.

“I was happy to see everyone in the community and in the parish using it for the first time because that is what the whole project was meant for. I wanted to do it to gather everyone in the community together. I want the parish to enjoy it and use it.”

The Living Rosary, built three weekends in March, is more than 100 feet long and includes beads made of oak, a Tau cross for his parish’s patron saint and a picture of the Blessed Mother. Nowak led a group of Boy Scouts and adult volunteers in the project.

The Salesian High School freshman publicized the event by speaking at Masses at St. Anthony the previous weekend to invite parishioners. The event drew more than 100 people from the parish and neighboring parishes.

“I was pleased the Boy Scouts would consider a church-related project as a community service for an Eagle Scout project, and the event was magnificent,” said Father Arthur Mastrolia, pastor of St. Anthony’s. “People were moved by it all and asked if we would repeat it regularly.”

Father Mastrolia said the rosary is on display for all to see in the church and will be used again when a date is set in October to celebrate the month of the Rosary.

“That would be very exciting,” said Nowak of his pastor’s plan. “I do want it to be used as much as it can. I put a lot of work into it and want it to be used in the community.”

Five percent, or more than two million Boy Scouts, have become Eagle Scouts since 1912, according to the National Eagle Scout Association. To become an Eagle Scout, a Boy Scout must earn 21 merit badges, 13 required and eight elective, and complete a community service project. The requirements must be met before the Boy Scout turns 18.

“What helped is when Zach was working on some of his badges, Colin was able to work on them too and achieve some of his merit badges at a younger age,” said the boys’ father, Joseph Nowak.

Nowak has to finish his written summary of the project before being interviewed by a board of review, comprised of up to five adult leaders. His recommendation for Eagle Scout will be sent to the Boy Scouts of America in Irving, Texas, for final approval.

Nowak hopes to join his brother and a long list of well-known Eagle Scouts, including Gerald Ford, 38th president of the United States; Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-winning film director; and Bill Bradley, a retired New York Knicks player and former U.S. senator from New Jersey.

“It was a very long process, but we were able to succeed,” Nowak said. “I learned a great deal of leadership skills, and it requires a great deal of patience.

“If you concentrate on it, you can work towards your goal, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

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