A place for prayer and reflection

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Thanks to a team of students, Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax will have a new spot on campus for quiet prayer and reflection.

The Holy Family Grotto was completed recently by the Paul VI St. Joseph's Service Team, a student group formed in the 2014-15 school year, consisting of 11th- and 12th-grade boys. Their mission is to serve the community and do charitable acts. The group's projects have included: making lunches for homeless people at the Lamb Center in Fairfax, raking neighbors' yards, volunteering at school Masses and supporting Medical Missionaries. As their final project last year, St. Joseph's Service Team constructed the Holy Family Prayer Grotto.

According to Paul VI Campus Minister Joyce Krolicki, the idea for an outside prayer grotto came from student mission trips.

"During our time in Bánica, Dominican Republic, wherever we went, we saw statues and prayer grottos outside, and the students really enjoyed them," she said.

Senior David Urlwin helped with the project. "Before, there was not really an outside area established for prayer," he said. "It will be great to have another place besides the chapel to go."

The team constructed the grotto over several Saturday mornings, starting by removing dead bushes and weeds to create space. They built garden boxes for rose bushes to outline the grotto. Under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Mike Grandizio, they laid gravel and concrete, that was donated by ATW and Company. They constructed the grotto so that it would be able to move once Paul VI's relocation to Loudoun County is complete.

To pay for the materials, about $1,800 was raised from families and various school groups, such as student government and the Mothers' Club. The statue of the Holy Family at the center also was donated.

The grotto was dedicated and blessed in June by Father Michael J.R. Kelly, Paul VI chaplain.

"We hope the grotto will provide a place to be away from the busyness of school life and help create a sense of peace," said Krolicki. "The grotto represents the importance of Christ and prayer in our lives."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015