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New Leesburg church dedicated
St. John the Apostle parishioners rejoice in new home.
Dave Borowski | Catholic Herald
Dave Borowski | Catholic Herald
The relics, and the reredos, or altarpiece at the new St. John the Apostle Church came from a church in New Jersey.

If you entered the newly constructed St. John the Apostle Church Aug. 3 just before the official dedication ceremony, you would have smelled fresh paint. Ken Tschida, development director, said that some things were not finished until noon that day. He added that you probably could smell mortar and drywall compound too.

But it all came together as hundreds waited for Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde, assisted by Father John P. Mosimann, pastor, and the priests and deacons of the Arlington Diocese, to perform the ancient rite of dedication. The beautiful new $15 million building was ready to become the diocese’s newest Catholic church. The new church has a capacity of 1,100. There are nearly 7,000 parishioners at the parish.

Parishioners have been waiting for this day since ground was broken for construction in October 2010. The original church was dedicated in 1868, and many design elements of the first church have been included in the design of the new.

As the time for dedication arrived, Holy Family Council Knights of Columbus, clergy and parishioners processed from the parish center across the parking lot to the new building as psalmist Tosia Shall chanted Psalm 122 — “Let us go rejoicing.”

In front of the church, the keys and the the construction drawings were formally presented to Bishop Loverde by parishioners Mary Davis and Bill Knauer. Father Mosimann unlocked the doors to the new church as the bishop and the people processed in to begin the dedication ceremony.

Bishop Loverde walked throughout the nave blessing the walls, altar and the people with holy water. After the litany of the saints, the bishop sealed the relics in the altar. The relics and the reredos, or altarpiece, were from the former Sacred Heart Church in Vailsburg, N.J., in the Archdiocese of Newark.

After the ritual anointing of the altar with sacred chrism, the bishop and other clergy anointed the walls of the church with oil.

The bishop then blessed the altar with incense, letting the smoke waft through the church symbolizing the prayers of the faithful rising to God.

The altar was wiped dry of chrism and adorned with cloths and candles in preparation for the celebration of Mass.

“This is your new home, to dedicate to God’s glory and praise,” the bishop said in his homily.

The bishop said that the altar is the focal point of the church and the table of sacrifice.

When Mass ended, a tremendous noise of joy arose from the pews with applause and cheering.

Father Mosimann’s remarks after Mass were a thank-you for everyone who made the event possible.

“Thanks be to God. Thanks be to God,” he said.

Bishop Loverde concluded the ceremony by telling Father Mosimann, “There’s one person you couldn’t thank, but I can, and that’s you.”

The faithful once again erupted with joyous applause.

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