Student rarely missed weekly rosary

Danny Howell started saying the rosary in the school chapel at about 7:30 a.m. once a week when he was in day care at St. Bernard School in Omaha.
He missed some days … but through preschool he was just warming up. From first grade until graduating from eighth grade last year, Howell never missed the weekly rosary, unless he had to serve on safety patrol. 
Really? Never missed a week?
“I actually don’t think I ever did,” Howell said. “I was always on time there.”
Just ask his mother, Laura, or third-grade teacher Donna Molacek, who leads the rosary, which over the last dozen years or so has drawn anywhere from two to a dozen students a week.
“He’s been there every week, except when on safety patrol occasionally,” Molacek said. 
“I never said he had to go,” his mother said. “It was his choice. We live close to school and he had to be up early, get himself there on time. He always did.”
Last year, Howell knew he couldn’t make the Wednesday rosaries, so he asked if the gatherings might take place every Tuesday morning. Molacek worked it out – and Tuesdays became rosary days. 
It was tempting at times to skip the rosary, Howell said, to sleep in a bit before the 7:55 a.m. start to school.  “Whenever I thought, ‘Maybe I don’t want to go this time, I felt like the Lord told me I had to, like it was the right thing,” he said.
It felt good to pray for a better world, for people who were ill, troubled or needed extra assistance with something, said Howell, who has been honored by the Serra Club as an altar server, and last school year won a Community Service Award of Appreciation for his work at the school and parish. 
He has led the rosary, Howell said, taught others how to pray it, and helped third-graders with the beads. His mother and Molacek said the rosary has helped him mature and grow in his faith. 
“I think it keeps him on the straight and narrow,” Molacek said with a chuckle. 
“My personal feeling is prayer can work miracles,” Laura Howell said. “I think maybe he has found that as well.”
Howell said the rosary has become a habit he hopes to continue at home this year as he attends Omaha North High School. It was a pretty good summer keeping up with the practice, he said.
“It’s made me realize how powerful God is,” he said. “And how he calls people to do certain things. And he calls the right people. If he calls you, you have to go through with it. It’ll change your life.”
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