Last month, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Tonawanda held a training session for Catholics looking to incorporate exercise into their daily prayer. Colleen Scariano and Deanne Miller, the co-founders of SoulCore, held a training session intended to introduce others to teaching the experience they first began in Carmel, Ind.
Miller led the congregation in push-ups, stretching exercises and positions to accompany their silent reflection on prayers in the rosary. Before the session began, Scariano and Miller discussed its origins and what they would like to do with it. Sue Ann Saltarelli, director of faith formation at St. Francis of Assisi with her husband, Michael, first began SoulCore themselves at the parish about 10 months ago and invited the duo to help teach others about it.
"I'm helping to grow the apostolate. That's really my focus and mission. It really was an inspiration of the Holy Spirit following some tragedy in my family," said Scariano. "I began to pray the rosary. Grief takes a physical toll on our bodies. I also started running, and I began to combine the two."
Scariano recalled how when she was being physically active, she was less apt to focus on negative emotions. Since she and Miller are both busy moms, this also allowed them to multitask. When Scariano did research on core exercises with a Catholic influence, she could not find any, so she made one.
"The response truly has been amazing. I think what's been most surprising is how much it's touched young people, especially, and the way it engages young people in the rosary, which can be longer, repetitive and a challenge," Scariano said.
"It has been such an incredible blessing," added Miller. "We always say that God cannot be outdone in His generosity. He's allowed Colleen and me to be instruments in this and offering it to others, guiding people to a deeper devotion to the Blessed Mother."
For more information, visit soulcore.com or www.facebook.com/soulcoreproject.