'Snow day' means school day at Southwest Side school

February 10, 2010 4:36:52 AM PST
They may be magic words for many school kids, but "snow day" has a different meaning at Our Lady of the Snows. While some other schools were closed Tuesday, snow day means school day at Our Lady of the Snows. The grade school celebrated the snow, the blessed mother and education.

"We're tough. And the children have snow days all the time at Our Lady of the Snows. So they're outside playing and enjoying the day," said Demetria Castro, principal, Our Lady of the Snows School. "Yes, they're in school."

The school is 50 years old, but the story dates back thousands of years to a hot August day in Rome in the year 352. A wealthy Roman couple wanted to build a church honoring Mary. They prayed for a sign on where to build it and their prayer was answered with a midsummer snow.

"To give them a sign it snowed on one of the hills in Rome. And at that spot they built a church that still stands today," said Castro.

The church that stands on that spot is called St. Mary Major and is one of the four principle churches of Rome. It's a story these kids love.

"Mary told the people to build a church and she made it snow and so the family built a church," said Aniya Jackson, third-grader.

So who do they pray to when they want it to snow? "Mary," said Matthew Vazques, third-grader. And when they want it to stop? "Mary."

And where is Mary? "She's up in heaven," said Tyler Madison, third-grader.

And with the snow, she gives these kids a little piece of heaven, too.