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Seton in Manassas gets creative to keep weekly Mass

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Seton School in Manassas has faced many challenges over the past year, including having to close their doors for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, as did all other schools in the United States. While Seton has been able to reopen full time to in-person learning, the new year brings along many new challenges.

One of the main obstacles facing the community is continuing regular activities. Seton has remained committed to continue celebrating Mass as a school community. What would this look like? Seton has worked hard, with the safety of the students and faculty in mind, to be creative and find a way to celebrate the Mass together.

In the past, the entire school would assemble in the gymnasium for Friday Mass. Now, Mass takes place in the chapel for a smaller group of students and is livestreamed to the remaining student body in the gym and the multipurpose room. With social distancing guidelines in place, only two classes can be present, so they take turns being in the chapel. The choir leads the school in worship from the back of the room. A student crew, led by senior Jerry Dalrymple, is in charge of all the technical aspects of the livestream.

Father Lee R. Roos, pastor of All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, celebrated the opening Mass of the school year Sept. 4. Since then, the Friday Masses have been celebrated by Father Stephen M. Vaccaro, parochial vicar of Church of Nativity in Burke, and three Seton alumni priests: Father Sean Koehr, parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Fredericksburg; Father Colin P. Davis, parochial vicar of St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg; and Father Michael C. Isenberg, diocesan vocations director.  

The majority of the school is in the gym and multipurpose rooms. Prior to starting, chairs are placed six feet apart and a large projector is set up in the front. The extraordinary ministers of holy Communion follow all the guidelines and recommendations of the Diocese of Arlington.

Seton continues to joyfully, and creatively, work through these difficult times. The community has come up with innovative ideas so that in-person learning, activities and especially faith, continue to be a daily part of the school day for their students. However, everyone is looking forward to the day when they can celebrate the Mass and worship as a community in the same space.



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020