At weekly Mass for St. Mary’s School, their pastor, a newly named bishop, encourages students to find time to pray

Students at St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills, Maryland, have a Friday morning ritual during the school year. Class by class, they line up and walk across the parking lot for a weekly Mass at St. Mary’s Church.

On Friday Feb. 10, St. Mary’s students again walked across the parking lot and assembled at the church for Mass celebrated by their pastor. But two months earlier, it was announced that he would have new responsibilities. On Dec. 19, Pope Francis named Father Evelio Menjivar-Ayala, St. Mary’s pastor since 2017, as one of two new auxiliary bishops of Washington, along with Msgr. Juan Esposito-Garcia, a Washington priest who in recent years has served as an official with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops.

Celebrating the Mass for St. Mary’s students on that Friday morning, Bishop-elect Menjivar walked in the center aisle as he gave his homily, speaking in a friendly, conversational tone as he asked students questions about that day’s Gospel reading which told the story of Jesus healing a Deaf man.

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