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Bishop Burbidge blesses Paul VI chapel in Chantilly

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge blessed the Mary, Mother of the Church chapel on the new St. Paul VI Catholic High School campus in Chantilly June 23. While only around 50 members of the Paul VI community could attend the Mass because of coronavirus restrictions, more than 1,700 watched the livestream on Facebook and YouTube. 

In remarks before the Mass, Head of School Ginny Colwell expressed her hope that the chapel will be the heart of the school. 

“This chapel will sustain us, just as our own hearts do,” she said. “As St. Jane de Chantal said, let us keep our hearts centered in God. Thank you to all who have supported us on our journey to the heart of the school.”

The crucifix from the chapel of the Fairfax campus now hangs at the entrance to the new chapel. The altar, ambo and Stations of the Cross were given to the school by St. Veronica Church in Chantilly. Behind the altar is a wall of windows with a large cross in the center. Watercolor paintings of the saints, created by local Catholic artist Betsy Farr, hang on the chapel walls. The chapel’s name honors the Blessed Mother and Pope Paul VI, who officially gave her the title Mary, Mother of the Church in “Lumen Gentium.” 

Read more about Betsy Farr and her artwork. 

 At the start of the Mass, Bishop Burbidge walked around the chapel, sprinkling the walls and congregation with holy water. Once the altar was prepared, Deacon Thomas L. Grodek, a Paul VI teacher, lit the altar candles. After the reception of holy Communion, Bishop Burbidge placed the newly lit sanctuary lamp beside the tabernacle. 


Head of School Ginny Colwell addresses the congregation before Mass June 23. ZOEY MARAIST  |  CATHOLIC HERALD

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In his homily, Bishop Burbidge said he was proud to the chapel’s large cross, which is visible from the street. “It serves as a powerful reminder to all who see it of who we are,” he said. “We are members of God’s holy family, we’re followers of Jesus, and we’re brothers and sisters in Christ. The cross reminds us of what it means to follow Jesus: that willingness to take up our cross and to unite our sufferings to his.” 

Bishop Burbidge said he hopes the Paul VI community will find the chapel a place of refuge. “Here, we are reminded of the Lord’s great love for us and his desire to protect us. Here in the midst of a noisy, demanding and hectic school day, students can enter and find some quiet and stillness and serenity,” he said. “Whatever your role or responsibility is within this school, let’s make a promise that we will do our part to invite them and to encourage them to visit this chapel frequently.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020