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St. Hubert ballpark now a prayer garden; rosary walk

By Anna Monica / L’Observateur / June 15, 1998

GARYVILLE – It was a more innocent kind of time, about 50 years ago, when the most noise heard came from the St. Hubert ballpark in the middle ofGaryville. Everybody went there, either to play ball or to watch it. Childrensafely walked up and down the streets to and from the park, day and night, and, in fact, several generations did this. At that time, the late FrankCambre was part of the legend of the park because almost never was a game played there without his attendance.

Even though older generations remember the park and Cambre, the younger ones don’t. But everyone has something special to remember in the future.The park where their moms, dads, brothers and sisters once played and Cambre watched has become a place of prayer.

In 1994-1995, St. Hubert pastor the Rev. Charles Caluda envisioned anddirected the construction of a Rosary Walk, which stands in the center of the former ballpark. An altar sits inside a gazebo which is lighted at nightand easily attracts attention.

On special occasions the faithful gather at the Rosary Walk, and at 6 p.m.on Wednesdays a rosary is offered. The Rosary Walk can be and is used atany time by anyone for private prayer, offered within the confines of nature. Prayers for the day are inside the wooden doors at each “station.”In response to the requests of his parishioners, Father Caluda planned the creation of a “Prayer Garden” to the rear of the Rosary Walk. The “Garden”features the 14 “Stations of the Cross” (there are prayer booklets at the beginning). From the Rosary Walk one crosses “The Bridge of Passage” intoan area where the entire story of salvation is summarized. Scenes fromExodus to Acts are depicted in various commemorations (pictures, structures and growing things), among them Moses and the Ten Commandments. A water fountain flowing in the middle of the garden is tobe redone, and benches are available for sitting.

While Father Caluda was sorting his ideas on this place of prayer, Betty Vicknair of Garyville had been busy on her knees growing pretty things in front of the church, as usual, just because she wanted to. This didn’tsurprise her husband, Harold “Peanut”, because he had already considered buying an entire “field” so Betty could pursue her passion of planting after running out of room in her own yard.

Father Caluda’s plan meshed with Betty’s desire to plant and the result is evident. At first Betty brought plants from her own home and Father boughtsome with Betty making the choices. County Agent Larry Brock gavevaluable advice and besides Father Caluda, sometimes Betty got help from Leona Miano, Joycelyn Monica and Frances Roccaforte. Many varieties ofplants add charm to the garden. They include trailing periwinkle, Asiaticjasmine, juniper, pentas, photinia, marigolds, boxwood, daisies, wheat, butterfly ginger, monkey grass, daylillies, lily of the nile, spirea, azaleas, irises, Mexican heather, Leland pine and gladioli. A Muscatine vine isplanted there to represent “the vine and the branches” from scripture.

Huey Tamplain of Garyville donated his time and efforts to do the carpentry work in the “garden,” and Farrel Kilburn has kept the grass cut. BettyVicknair is often found there weeding, fertilizing and assessing the needs of the garden.

Because of her constant volunteer work, she was recognized for her service by the “Retired Senior Volunteer Program” which Inez Blank of Garyville coordinated. She is one of four people who received a plaque for over 700 to2000 hours of service since joining only two years ago, and her own garden at home also reflects her commitment to growing things.

The newest addition to the Prayer Garden is a hill with a depiction of the risen Christ surrounded by wooden pillars representing His disciples. Theentire Rosary Walk and Prayer Garden area is dedicated to solitude and worship. People of all denominations are welcome to enjoy the peace andchance for prayer it offers.

Photo: Faithful parishoners leave the rosary Walk after a service.

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