New IHM Convent Altar Blessing


As we began the New Year this week, I had the privilege of being involved in something new and special at the IHM Sisters new convent. Bishop Burbidge dedicated the altar in the Sisters' new chapel during a special Mass. The process includes the anointing and incensing of the altar by the Bishop. Because the chapel is small, we were all very close and thus able to be very connected to what was transpiring.

The Bishop anointed the altar by making the sign of the cross with oil over the altar stone and then over each of the four corners of the altar. He then rubbed the oil over the altar to ensure the entire surface was covered. As a first time observer of a Catholic rite like this, I found myself reflecting on the importance of each step in the process. Ultimately, the dedication reflected the importance of the altar to our Faith.

It was a special moment for many reasons. Our Bishop--whose connection to the IHM Sisters goes back to his own days in grade school--spoke with great respect and admiration for the Sisters' devotion to their vocations. In their beautiful new convent, the IHM Sisters of Bishop O'Connell gathered around the altar of the most important room in their home. At the beginning of the New Year, a new chapel was dedicated and the moment was an opportunity to appreciate the contributions and sacrifices of hundreds of IHM Sisters who have served the Bishop O'Connell community over the past 60 years.

As we move forward in 2018, focused on the development of a beautiful new wing of our school at the site of the original convent, we look forward to the day when Bishop Burbidge will join us in the new chapel at our school, a beautiful sign of our Catholic identity emerging toward Trinidad Street, to dedicate the altar there.

Read more from the Arlington Catholic Herald about this special altar blessing...

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