Bishop Burbidge blesses new office for Mary's Shelter

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Mary’s Shelter supporters, volunteers and residents celebrated a high point for the organization May 6 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new office on Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg.

Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of a large crowd of Mary’s Shelter supporters who crammed the surrounding sidewalk and street. It was the bishop’s first visit to the 10-year-old organization, which has been a huge support for mothers in crisis.  After sprinkling both the crowd and the building with holy water, Bishop Burbidge blessed all the rooms with the help of Father John P. Mosimann, Pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and Father Keith D. Cummings, Parochial Vicar, along with former Pastor Father Donald J. Rooney and former Parochial Vicar Father Bjorn C. Lundberg. The event concluded at Mary’s Shelter’s Charles Street house where the bishop met with a dozen residents and their babies. 

Mary’s Shelter board member Julian Malcolm thanked the bishop for coming and recognized the efforts of Director Kathleen Wilson and Mary’s Shelter volunteers who make the organization’s mission a reality every day. 

“You start with one bedroom in the basement of a house and now you have four (locations) and 50-plus people a year that you are able to take care of, and it is because you have a lot of folks who are willing to dig-in when they can’t see (the outcome),” said Malcom. “Today is a high point. You get a big hug from your bishop and a blessing and it really gives you a big boost.”

The faith and dedication seen in the volunteers is a good example for a new generation of volunteers such as Kennedy Sewell. The sophomore at Summit Academy volunteered with fellow students before the event to paint, clean and landscape. 

“Mrs. Wilson used to babysit me when I was a little kid, so it is awesome to be able to stay with her and see her helping the moms,” said Sewell. “We get to see how her faith has helped these women. You want to be stronger in your faith just seeing that your faith can help other people in their lives.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017