New Archbishop's Life and Legacy
A snapshot of some parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington
May 16, 2019
With 139 parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, there is something for everyone who wants to find a faith community to call home.
For history buffs
St. Francis Xavier Parish in Newtowne in Southern Maryland is the oldest Catholic church in continuous use in the English colonies, with the first chapel built in 1662.
At the historic chapel at Sacred Heart Parish in Bowie, priests of the new nation nominated John Carroll to be the first American bishop on May 18, 1789.
St. Patrick Catholic Church – the first Catholic parish in the federal city – was founded in Washington in 1794 to meet the needs of the Irish immigrants working on the White House and the Capitol Building.
St. Augustine Catholic Church traces its history back to 1858, when a group of free men and women of color, including some people emancipated from slavery, founded a school and parish under the patronage of Blessed Martin de Porres, four years before mandatory free public education of black children became a law in D.C. After the Civil War, a new church was built and dedicated to St. Augustine in 1876.
The cemetery of St. Mary’s Parish in Bryantown, founded in 1793, is the burial place of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was charged with conspiring in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, because he treated the fractured leg of John Wilkes Booth on the morning after Booth had killed Lincoln.
On Nov. 25, 1963, the funeral Mass for President John F. Kennedy was celebrated in the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington after the assassination of the nation’s first Catholic president.
In 1975, The Great Gatsby novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, were buried in the cemetery at St. Mary’s Parish in Rockville.
For those interested in different cultures
Our Lady, Queen of Poland and St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Silver Spring serves Polish Catholics, with Masses in Polish every Sunday at 10 a.m. and noon.
St. Andrew Kim Parish in Olney serves Korean Catholics, and offers a 5 p.m. Mass on Sunday specifically for Korean young adults.
Our Lady of China Pastoral Mission in Rockville and Washington, D.C., serves Chinese Catholics, and hosts a Chinese Student Fellowship to care for Chinese students from all over the world.
Our Lady of Vietnam Parish in Silver Spring, which has a church designed to resemble a pagoda, serves Vietnamese Catholics, with Mass celebrated in Vietnamese every day.
Holy Rosary Church in Washington was founded in 1913 to serve the needs of Italian immigrants, and continues to celebrate Italian culture today. Every Sunday, espresso and cappuccino are offered from their coffee bar during coffee hour immediately following Mass. The 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at Holy Rosary is celebrated in Italian. The parish is attached to Casa Italiana, which houses cultural events and classes where people can go to learn to speak Italian, learn to cook Italian food, and learn more about Italian culture.
St. Louis de France Parish in Washington serves French Catholics, with Sunday Mass offered in French at 10:30 a.m.
The Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington has a large population of Salvadoran parishioners and offers Mass in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Haitian Creole.
In addition to Masses in Spanish, French, and English, St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring offers a 10:30 a.m. Intercultural Mass every Sunday. They are also one of the sponsors of St. Francis International School, which brings together students whose parents were born in about 50 different countries.
For food connoisseurs
St. Mary’s Parish in Barnesville hosts an Annual Chicken Dinner and Fair on the last Saturday in July, where they serve grilled chicken and host an outdoor fair complete with jousting, the state sport of Maryland. In October, they host their Annual Ham and Turkey Dinner.
Sacred Heart Parish in Bushwood also hosts two dinners each year – one in June and one in October. The June dinner features crab cakes, country ham and fried chicken, while the October dinner has oysters, stuffed ham, turkey and dressing.
St. George Catholic Church in Valley Lee also serves crab cakes at their annual crab cake dinner, held in August.
Holy Angels in Avenue holds two seafood dinners each year – one in March and one in September – serving crab balls, steamed shrimp, fried chicken, and fried oysters.
Parishes with connections to potential saints
Holy Name Parish in Washington was the home parish of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz, known as “Father Al,” a missionary priest who founded a network of villages for the poorest of the poor, where children could live and receive academic instruction, vocational training, faith formation, and the opportunity to play sports or learn instruments.
Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington was the home parish of Servant of God Mary Virginia Merrick, who founded the Christ Child Society. Despite paralysis resulting from a fall as a teenager, Merrick dedicated her life to serving low-income children.
For workers near the Capitol
St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s Catholic Churches on Capitol Hill serve people who work for the government and also those who live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. St. Peter’s is located on 2nd street, S.E., near the Cannon House Office Building, while St. Joseph’s is on 2nd street, N.E., near the Russell Senate Office Building.
For sports fans
St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Washington is just a block away from the center-field gate of Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play baseball, and they host a #NatsMass at noon on Sundays when there is a 1:35 p.m. game scheduled. The Knights of Columbus volunteer to give the fans a post-Mass hot dog and bottle of water before they head across the street for the game.
St. Joseph Parish in Largo is less than two miles from FedEx Field, where the Washington Redskins play their home games. They have a 6 p.m. Mass on Sundays for anyone who wants to go to Mass after an afternoon football game.
Several parishes are within walking distance from the Capital One Arena, where the Washington Wizards play basketball and the Washington Capitals play hockey, including Holy Rosary, St. Patrick’s, and St. Mary, Mother of God.
Catholic church serving the deaf
St. Francis of Assisi Deaf Catholic Church in Landover Hills offers Mass in sign language every Sunday at 10 a.m. This is not a Mass with a sign language interpreter (although those are available in parishes around the archdiocese). At St. Francis of Assisi, the priest celebrates the Mass both orally and in sign language, and the readings are in sign language as well.
Parishes staffed by religious orders
Holy Trinity Parish in Washington and St. Ignatius Parish in Chapel Point are both staffed by Jesuit priests, and St. Dominic Parish in Washington is staffed by Dominican Priests. The Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington is staffed by Capuchin Franciscan priests and St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring is staffed by Franciscan priests. The Josephites, an order that has historically served the nation’s Black Catholics, staff Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Incarnation and St. Luke parishes in Washington, D.C. Priests from the Institute of the Incarnate Word serve at St. James Parish in Mount Rainier and at St. John Baptist de la Salle in Chillum. The Scalabrini Fathers serve at Holy Rosary Parish in Washington and at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Riverdale Park.