‘What a joy to see you here’

First slide

It's a rite of autumn for Arlington diocesan school teachers as they come to All Saints Church in Manassas for the opening Mass to kick off the new school year.

The Mass is also a chance for the Office of Catholic Schools to recognize milestones of service. Eleven awards were given for 25 years of service, five given for 30 years, and one teacher, Dave Nasca from Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, was recognized for 40 years of service.

The last person, St. Joseph Sister Karl Ann Homberg was called to the altar and presented with her 25-year award by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde.

Before Mass began, Sister Bernadette McManigal, superintendent for diocesan schools, said that there was a bit of a change for the opening hymn "Holy is Your Name." Instead of standing, she asked that everyone sit until she called a school name before each hymn refrain.

By the time the last refrain was sung, the entire congregation was standing as Bishop Loverde, celebrant, processed down the aisle.

In his opening comments he welcomed the teachers.

"What a joy to see you here," he said.

In his homily, the bishop reminded everyone that today, Aug. 25, was the feast of St. Joseph Calasanctius, patron saint of schools.

When Mass ended, Bishop Loverde was presented with a spiritual bouquet of prayers from each school.

After Mass, teachers met in the garden area outside the church, where they renewed old friendships and met new colleagues.

Susan Graif, a veteran O'Connell teacher of more than 25 years, said she still enjoys the opening day Mass.

"It's wonderful to see everyone together from the whole diocese," she said, amazed at the number of teachers now serving the diocese.

Matt Hill, a new teacher at O'Connell, said it was great to see everyone, but he did confess to being a bit nervous.

After the break, there was a presentation in the church by Holy Cross Father Joseph Corpora on retention of Latino students.

Milestone Achievement Awards

(PROVIDED BY THE DIOCESAN OFFICE OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS.)

40 YEARS

Dave Nasca - Bishop O'Connell High School

30 YEARS

Catherine McNulty - Bishop O'Connell High School

Bobbie Terry - Epiphany School

Linda Butler - Holy Spirit School

Shawn McNulty - Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School

Brenda Hart - St. Joseph School

25 YEARS

Dave E. Conroy Jr. - All Saints School

Catherine Melanson - Bishop Ireton High School

Sisters of the Holy Cross Sister Ann Tardiff - Bishop Ireton High School

Vera Ziherman - Bishop Ireton High School

Vicky Eichler - Bishop Ireton High School

Mary Lou Wentzel - Bishop O'Connell High School

Patrice Connolly - Bishop O'Connell High School

Sister Karl Ann Homberg, SSJ - Office of Catholic Schools

Eileen Johnson - Paul VI Catholic High School

Gary Underhill - Paul VI Catholic High School

Bianca Figueiredo - St. Leo the Great School

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015