Farewell to the IHM sisters

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Although there are two weeks left in the school year, the St. Michael School community bid farewell to the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary May 22 at a reception held in their honor.

The religious community has staffed St. Michael School in Annandale since 1954. Earlier this year they announced that they would be leaving the school due to decreased vocations and a desire to strengthen community life.

Father Jerry J. Pokorsky, pastor, announced that Daniel Cinalli has been hired as the new principal. He will begin his duties July 1.

The IHM sisters will continue to staff St. James School in Falls Church and Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington.

Sister Therese Elizabeth Bauer, who has been principal of St. Michael School since 2006, said although there will be tears of sadness shed at their departure, there also will be tears of joy. "Our mission will continue through you," she told the parents and students gathered for the farewell celebration.

Father Pokorsky said one of the first things he noticed when he became pastor of St. Michael Church in 2008 was the politeness of the school children, which he said was the hallmark of the IHM sisters.

He asked God to continue to bless the sisters "until we all meet again at a family reunion in heaven."

In his homily during the Mass preceding the reception, Father Pokorsky said the sisters have done "Trinitarian work" during their 62 years of service at the school.

They have shared the love of Jesus Christ, which helps transform the world, he said, and they have promoted communion, mission, normalcy and our destiny to worship God forever.

"They have taught our children how to be normal," Father Pokorsky said. "What a gift."

"Thank you for your good work and all you have done for St. Michael School."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016