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Seton School students celebrate Fatima anniversary with procession in Manassas

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Seton School in Manassas celebrated the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima Oct. 13 in a big way. The festivities began with the seventh-grade girls processing into the John Paul II Center connected by a prayer chain made from student petitions. They laid the chain at the foot of the statue of the Blessed Mother.

Father Tom S. Vander Woude, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville and a Seton alumnus, celebrated Mass with 17 senior and freshmen altar servers. In his homily, Father Vander Woude discussed the heroic and unwavering belief of the Fatima children — Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. He said that through their devotion to Mary, the children gained heroic courage, each willing to die a martyr’s death. He added that all Catholics are called to have a relationship with Our Lady.

A Eucharistic procession followed Mass, with students, faculty and family members circling the school. Four senior boys carried the statue of Our Lady of Fatima preceding the Blessed Sacrament.

Throughout the procession, a song about the miracle at Fatima was sung. The procession ended behind the school chapel, where the students surrounded the statue of Mary with a rosary of balloons hovering above.

Seniors led the student body in the Fatima Angel Prayer and consecration to Mary.

Father Vander Woude gave a closing prayer and led grace. Every student then had a free period with pizza in celebration of Our Lady of Fatima.

The ceremonies had a profound effect. During their free period, multiple students could be heard discussing the realization that the children at Fatima were ordinary kids who were made extraordinary because of their trust in Our Lady and steadfast belief in the Lord.

Students were inspired and felt blessed. “The procession around the school helped me embrace my faith,” said senior Tommy Mosimann.

“(I was) a little nervous when the four altar servers let the balloon rosary unfold, and it began to drift into the trees,” said Senior Noah Smith. “They redirected it somehow and the spontaneous clapping gave them due praise.”

“It was a privilege to see how a smaller community like Seton could have a procession to celebrate Fatima that touched the heart of each individual,” said freshman Sofie Harangozo. “It was a blessing that came straight from God.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017