Marymount University welcomed The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, to campus for the dedication of the altar in the newly renovated Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel. Bishop Loverde began the Mass by saying, “The Chapel is the heart and soul of the university. The dedication of this altar fills us with joy and thanksgiving.”
In the homily, the Bishop pointed out that the altar is where Christ becomes truly present for us. “Each time the priest offers Holy Mass from this altar, Christ is made present to spiritually nourish us,” he explained, adding that the faithful are called to His altar to offer daily prayer, to receive the sacraments, to experience the evangelical spirit, to develop a willingness to forgive, to reach out to the poor, and to witness God in daily life. Bishop Loverde joyously stated, “This is the living altar of the Lord …Let us rejoice in today’s dedication and give thanks to God for making today a reality.”
As part of the beautiful and solemn dedication rituals, Sr. Irene Cody, RSHM, and Sr. Jackie Murphy, RSHM, brought the sacred relics of four saints forward in the processional for Bishop Loverde to place in the new altar. The relics are of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, who preached the Word in towns and villages; Saint Maria Goretti, who symbolizes the virtue of chastity and the dignity of every living person; Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who found the Sisters of Charity, as well as the Catholic school system in the United States, and is the secondary patron saint of the Diocese of Arlington; and Saint Padre Pio, a modern Italian saint known for his piety and the great miracles the Lord worked through him. Padre Pio bore the stigmata – visible manifestations of the five wounds of Christ – for fifty years until his death in 1968.
The altar was then anointed with sacred chrism oil and dressed with white linens. Unlit candles were placed on the altar, and they were lit by a candle Bishop Loverde handed to the deacon. The lighting of the altar candles symbolize that Christ is “a light to enlighten the nations” (Lk 2:32), and that His brightness shines out in the Church and throughout the whole human family.
After the dedication, Mass continued with the offertory procession, when Sr. Irene and Sr. Mary Patricia Earl, IHM, carried the gifts of bread and wine to the Bishop to use in the consecration of the Eucharist.
As the Mass concluded, Father Brian Bashista, Marymount’s chaplain, thanked the Bishop for presiding over this special Mass and altar dedication. The Bishop responded, “Rejoice in this day…The Church of Arlington rejoices and is strengthened by this commitment to praise and adoration of Christ. It is a great joy to be at Marymount.”
The Sacred Heart of Mary Chapel will receive its new, stained-glass windows this summer. The Marymount community looks forward to welcoming Bishop Loverde back this fall to begin the academic year with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, at which time he will bless the stained-glass windows and the new Stations of the Cross.
PHOTO 1 - Anointing the altar with sacred chrism oil
PHOTO 2 - Relics of the Saints
PHOTO 3 (by Bob Brown '15) - Bishop Loverde preparing to place the Saints' relics in the altar
PHOTO 4 - Lucila Rivera Simon ʼ15 leads the offertory procession, as Sr. Irene Cody, RSHM (left) and Sr. Mary Patricia Earl, IHM (right) carry the gifts of bread and wine. Eric Becker, assistant director of Campus Ministry, is in the background.
PHOTO 5 - Bishop Loverde blessing the congregation at the end of the Mass