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Bishop Burbidge dedicates two new altars

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge spent two evenings during the first week of the new year dedicating altars.


"I think the rite of the dedication of an altar is one of the most powerful ceremonies we have in our church." Bishop Michael F. Burbidge

After 60 years of living on the Bishop O’Connell High School campus in Arlington, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary now have a beautifully renovated convent less than a half-mile from the school. Sisters Regina Havens, Anne Mare Markoe, Margaret Langer and Elizabeth Goltman moved into the new house Dec. 15. The new location is more manageable for their smaller community. The old convent was built to accommodate more than 25 sisters.


Bishop Burbidge celebrated Mass and blessed the altar in the new chapel Jan. 3.


“It provides me with the opportunity to thank you sisters and all of your sisters for what you have done and continue to do here in this diocese and beyond to teach our young people and all those you serve about the holy name of Jesus and to proclaim his mercy and his compassion,” said Bishop Burbidge.


The wood altar was constructed by Bill McCarthy, a carpenter and friend of Sister Elizabeth Goltman. It includes a marble slab taken from the old altar.


The change gives O’Connell the opportunity to move forward with an expansion project for the school’s 60th anniversary, which will include new state-of-the-art classroom space and a new chapel.


The dedication for the new altar at St. Veronica Church in Chantilly was one of the “final touches” to the church’s recent renovations, said Father Dennis W. Kleinmann, pastor. This past spring, the back wall of the church was painted red ochre and Aegean blue, and new flooring was installed. Later, murals of saints and angels from a closed church in Philadelphia were added. A new marble ambo, altar of repose, baptismal font and altar were delivered to the parish in December.


During his homily Jan. 4, Bishop Burbidge explained the aspects of a dedication before performing them. “I think the rite of the dedication of an altar is one of the most powerful ceremonies we have in our church,” he said. “As you listen tonight to the words that will be prayed and sung, they really capture so much of what we believe and profess as Catholics.”


Holy water was sprinkled on the altar and the congregation. Relics of Sts. Peter Chanel, Felix, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Pius X were sealed within the altar. Bishop Burbidge then poured chrism on the altar to anoint it. Incense was burned on the altar as a symbol of prayers rising to heaven. Finally, the altar was adorned with lit candles. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018