Neatly dressed in their first Communion dresses and suits, 39 second-graders of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Regional School, Bellmore, honored Mary by leading a crowning ceremony prior to the 9 a.m. Mass May 24 at St. Barnabas the Apostle Church, the school’s host parish.
Bishop John Barres was the presider and homilist at the liturgy, which was celebrated for the school’s 340 children, their teachers and families. Concelebrants included the pastors of the parishes affiliated with the regional school: Fathers Adrian McHugh (St. Barnabas), Gregory Cappuccino (St. Frances de Chantal, Wantagh), Robert Holz (St. Raphael, East Meadow) and Msgr. Frank Caldwell (Cure of Ars, Merrick).
During the Mass, first Communicants proclaimed the first reading, led the recitation of the responsorial psalm and presented the gifts to Bishop Barres. The children performed their responsibilities flawlessly, thanks to the instruction and guidance of their respective homeroom teachers, Jeanne Ciano and Anne Cooke.
The annual crowning and Mass is dedicated to Martha Daunt, a former second-grade teacher at the school who died of cancer in 2009 at age 50. Daunt, a Catholic school educator for 25 years, is credited with starting the crowning service at the school.
The liturgy is traditionally followed by a catered Communion breakfast for the second-graders and their families in the school cafeteria.
Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz
Bishop John Barres smiles at students arriving for Mass.
Girls holding flower baskets process at the beginning of the crowning service.
Madeline Joseph, left, and Tia Penna place flower baskets in front of a statue of Mary.
Gavin Justice, left, and Nicholas Rugen prepare to place a rosary on the statue.
Evelyn McBrien places a floral wreath on the statue of Mary as Domenick Urso looks on.
Ryan Collins proclaims the first reading.
Christopher LaVaca, left, Andrew Gelish and Sammy Johnson hold a banner imprinted with the responsorial psalm.
McKenzie Minero leads the recitation of the responsorial psalm.
Lilly Noce and PJ Romanelli focus on Bishop Barres as he delivers his homily.
Students sing in the choir loft.
Daniel Graziose reads one of the general intercessions.
Bishop Barres, elevating the chalice, is joined at the altar by Msgr. Frank Caldwell, left, Father Gregory Cappuccino, Father Robert Holz and Father Adrian McHugh.
Sixth-graders Katherine Keegan, Sofia Fontilles and Maddie Graham lead the singing.
Xavier Small receives Communion from Bishop Barres.
Patrick Gormsen presents a school "Dream Team" t-shirt to Bishop Barres.
Bishop Barres receives a statue of the school patroness from Giavanna Luca.
Principal LeeAnn Graziose presents Bishop Barres with a basket of picture cards of the students.
Bishop Barres waves to the choir as he processes at the end of Mass.
Proud family members snap pictures of Bishop Barres and the first Communicants.
Jayda Barfield poses with her mother, Jayda, for a photo at the Communion breakfast.