Second-graders celebrated at Bishop Blanchet High School Mass

  • Written by Cristen Jansson
  • Published in Local
Father Colin Parrish, outgoing chaplain at Bishop Blanchet High School, talks to second-graders from a dozen local Catholic schools during the “Celebrating Sacraments” Mass at the Seattle high school. Nearly 350 students who recently received their first Communion attended the May 16 Mass. Photo: Stephen Brashear Father Colin Parrish, outgoing chaplain at Bishop Blanchet High School, talks to second-graders from a dozen local Catholic schools during the “Celebrating Sacraments” Mass at the Seattle high school. Nearly 350 students who recently received their first Communion attended the May 16 Mass. Photo: Stephen Brashear

SEATTLE – Nearly 350 second-graders from 12 local Catholic schools joined Bishop Blanchet High School students at a May 16 Mass in honor of their recently received sacraments.

“It’s a really special and unique Mass,” Mary McCloskey, a second-grade teacher at St. Matthew School said of the sixth annual event. The Mass celebrated the younger kids’ first Communion and the older kids’ confirmation at their individual parishes.

Second-graders read the Prayers of the Faithful during the “Celebrating Sacraments” Mass at Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School May 16. The annual Mass honors second-graders from local Catholic schools who recently received their first Communion, and Blanchet students who recently were confirmed. Photo: Stephen Brashear

Celebrating Mass in a new setting with the high school students is “a really great opportunity for my kids to see where their faith can lead them,” McCloskey added.

The “Celebrating Sacraments” Mass began in 2014 when the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education program visited Seattle as part of its Fighting for our Children’s Future national bus tour. There was a lot of “energy and excitement” from area Catholic schools wanting to participate in that Mass, said Tony DeSapio, Blanchet’s president.

When Blanchet decided to hold the celebration again the next year, the staff was surprised that there was as much excitement as before, even without an ACE visit, DeSapio said. The Mass became a new tradition.

This year’s Mass was celebrated by Father Colin Parrish, Blanchet’s chaplain and parochial vicar at St. Luke Parish in Shoreline. (It was to be his last Mass as chaplain; in July he starts an assignment as priest administrator at St. Anne Parish in Seattle.)

Second-graders pray during the “Celebrating Sacraments” Mass at Bishop Blanchet High School May 16. Photo: Stephen Brashear

Most of the Mass was led by Blanchet students, but the second-graders read the Prayers of the Faithful, McCloskey said. “I was so impressed that these 8-year-olds can get up and speak in front of a room full of people and do it with such composure,” she noted.

For the high school students, hosting the second-graders “helps them remember where they came from,” DeSapio said.

“It’s so cool to see how many kids are going through the sacrament of first Communion and how the sacraments reach everybody,” said Kate Yerkes, Blanchet’s junior class president.

Pulling off the event takes a lot of work, from the campus ministry team and chaplain who planned the liturgy to the athletic department, which provided bus transportation for some of the visiting schools, DeSapio said.

Second-graders who recently received their first Communion were special guests at the “Celebrating Sacraments” Mass at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle. Photo: Stephen Brashear

The Mass, DeSapio said, was a “heartwarming event” that expressed the feeling of unity everyone gets from celebrating together.

For Yerkes, the Mass showed “the sacraments aren’t just for you … the sacraments really affect the community,” she said. “It made me realize that being a Catholic is a very communal thing.”