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Blessing of a tabernacle, chapel

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After 2 1/2 years, when Bishop Michael F. Burbidge blessed Catholic Charities Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, located in a space that was once an abortion clinic, he returned to bless the clinic’s chapel June 9.

Bringing the tabernacle to the clinic chapel, where staff, volunteers and patients regularly pray, was a labor of love for Clinic Director Alexandra Luevano, who received the permission from Bishop Burbidge to begin the project in January 2019 when he blessed the clinic’s ultrasound equipment, a donation from the Knights of Columbus, allowing it to begin prenatal care. 

With the support of Father Lee Roos, pastor of All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Father Mauricio Pineda, parochial vicar, and two donors took on the project of setting up the tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament flanked by statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.

“Spiritual healing is even more important than physical healing and having Christ truly present at the clinic provides a sanctuary to fulfill this deeper need in all of us,” said Luevano.

The blessing event, originally scheduled for early spring, was rescheduled to June due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders. The same week, the clinic was awarded a gold rating from the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics quality standards program, which evaluates the health care provided to patients. 

During the pandemic, the Manassas clinic continued to serve patients, an “easy decision,” according to Luevano. “God has allowed us to continue to serve our clients, not only by seeing our pregnant patients for care at the clinic, providing COVID-19 testing, and education, but also being able to provide telehealth to our other clients to avoid any gap in care.”

“Right now, the people we serve, largely patients from the Hispanic community, are the most affected with the virus, bus also lack of employment or source of income. We are helping our clients understand how they can be healthy and in turn help and protect others,” she said. Mother of Mercy is working to provide vital information, as are other Catholic Charities programs, including a recent Spanish language Zoom webinar on the coronavirus.

In mid-April, Catholic Charities opened the second Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Woodbridge. Bishop Burbidge will bless that clinic July 24.   Both clinics rely on volunteer medical doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to operate. 

Snider is deputy director of diocesan communications.


Contact Alexandra.luevano@ccda.net.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020