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