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Bishop Burbidge dedicates new altar at St. Anthony Mission in King George

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When Angel Boily, a new Catholic and parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua Mission in King George, walked into the church and saw the new altar, she stood in awe. “Tears came to my eyes, it was so beautiful,” she said.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge dedicated the new altar April 29 at Mass concelebrated by Father Francis M. de Rosa, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua and St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Colonial Beach; Father Joseph R. Kenna, parochial vicar; Father Paul F. de Ladurantaye, secretary for religious education and for the liturgy, and Father Michael Isenberg, assistant director of vocations, who served as master of ceremonies.

Bishop Burbidge invited the attendees to pay attention to the prayers used during the altar dedication. He said the various components of the rite teach people how to remain in Jesus.

The new sanctuary was designed by James McCrery of McCrery Architects LLC in Washington. The woodwork was crafted by Mountain View Millwork in Hedgesville, W.Va.

The inscription on the front of the altar reads “Ave Verum Corpus natum de Maria Virgine — Hail True Body, Born of the Virgin Mary.”   

The stone in the center of the altar was taken from the original 1905 altar of St. Elizabeth to signify the historical unity of the two churches in one parish. The altar of sacrifice was donated by the parishioners of St. Elizabeth. Relics of Sts. Bernadette Soubirous, Faustina Kowalska, Francis Xavier and Josemaria Escriva were placed inside the altar.

Other features of the sanctuary include a new ambo and altar rail.

Father de Rosa said the completed altar and dedication is the culmination of many years of the development of the liturgy and the devotion of the people who very much wanted to give greater glory to God in the architecture.

“The altar rail is something that was very much in our hearts for a number of years,” he said. “The people have been kneeling there without an altar rail. When Bishop Burbidge approved the altar rail we were very happy and rejoicing. We want to kneel for the Lord. This is a very humble parish.”

St. Anthony celebrated its 100th anniversary in June 2017 with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge. It began as a mission of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Fredericksburg in 1917. The first pastor was Father Thomas B. Martin. St. Anthony became a mission of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Colonial Beach in 1940. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018