Less than two years after Steven Virostek launched efforts to renovate the chapel at Connelly School of the Holy Child, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, bishop of the Washington Archdiocese, performed the blessing of the new chapel on Sunday, Dec. 11. It was McCarrick’s third visit to Holy Child, a Catholic school in Potomac for girls in grades 6-12.
About 18 months ago, Virostek began efforts to improve the school’s chapel. Husband of Holy Child ‘81 alum Joanne Lane Virostek and father of Holy Child students Jenny and Mary Kate, Virostek felt Holy Child’s existing chapel “was a glorified closet.”
THE CHAPEL blessed on Sunday seats 200 people, and was set within the existing footprint of the school. Construction on the chapel was completed last fall. Sr. Eileen McDevitt, director of the Network of Holy Child Schools, described the new chapel as “a space to give quiet attention to our God. … This is what this sacred space will be to our school,” she said.
Following the chapel blessing, McCarrick presided over Mass for the third Sunday of the church’s Advent season before more than 900 people in Holy Child’s gymnasium. Holy Child students participated in the Mass as dancers, instrumentalists, singers in the liturgical hand bell choir, and a live tableaux.
McCarrick referred to Holy Child’s tiger mascot. “Tigers – for that is what we are,” McCarrick said. “Filled with courage, filled with enthusiasm … all the things that make education so wonderful.”
McCarrick’s homily also delivered a few laughs. “I want to thank Father Allen for getting through the Gospel so beautifully,” he joked with concelebrant Rev. Allen Novotny, Holy Child’s chapel committee chair, who persevered through the Gospel reading despite a persistent cough. When McCarrick mentioned Holy Child students’ boyfriends, he added, “not too serious boyfriends.”
Many celebrants lingered at the school after the service for receptions or to examine the chapel. Virostek took pride in seeing his vision become reality. “It’s fantastic, with everybody happy,” Virostek said. “It’s thrilling.”