FAQs

This page has the answers to questions we are asked most frequently. If you need an answer about a topic that does not appear below, please send us an e-mail.

I just moved here. What parish is in my neighborhood?
Interactive maps of the Archdiocese are in the Parishes section. Choose the county, then click on the parish closest to your town to get contact and website information. The official directory of parish boundaries is located in the Archives.

I’m going to be in Washington on business or vacation. Where can I go to Mass?
Most hotels in the city will be able to provide you with the name and Mass information for a nearby parish. You also can visit our Parishes section contact information for the parishes closest to your hotel or www.MassTimes.org. We hope you enjoy your visit.

When does the Sunday TV Mass air?
The Sunday TV Mass airs at 10:30 a.m. on CW50 (on WDCW). If you do not have cable and use an antenna, the Mass will be on channel 50. If you do have cable or satellite television, the actual channel may vary depending on your cable provider.

This Mass is offered for parishioners who are “hospitalized, homebound, or imprisoned and do not have the opportunity to be physically present with a worshipping community,” (Guidelines for Televising the Liturgy, USCCB, 1996). Those who watch the Mass on TV are invited to participate more fully through use of a missal and newsletter. Call 301-853-4517 to request both items or for a schedule of the Mass tapings if you are interested and able to be a part of the congregation when the Mass is taped (typically Thursday evenings).

What is the difference between the Cathedral of St. Matthew and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception?
The cathedral for the Archdiocese of Washington is the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Rhode Island Avenue, NW. Each (arch)diocese has a cathedral, considered the “mother church” of the (arch)diocese, and the place where the bishop or archbishop’s chair (“cathedra”) is located. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, while one of the largest Catholic churches in the world and the location of many archdiocesan events, is actually not a parish or cathedral, but rather a national pilgrimage site.

Where can I find my baptismal or marriage records?
Sacramental records are maintained at the parishes where the sacraments were administered. Use the Sacramental Request form and the online parish directory to ask for copies of the record.

My Catholic school merged with another or is closed. Where are my academic records now?
A list of schools and the location of records is online, under Archives.

Does the Archdiocese publish an official directory?
Yes, we publish an official Archdiocese of Washington Directory, with parish, school, staff and organization information. It is available in electronic format only and can be printed or searched from a PDF.

Is the Archdiocese of Washington the headquarters for the Catholic Church in the United States?
No, although people sometimes think we are because of our location in the nation’s capital. The United States is divided into geographic areas called dioceses or archdioceses (an archdiocese is a significant or large diocese and is headed by an archbishop). The Archdiocese of Washington includes Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

If you have a concern or question about the Church and don’t live within the Archdiocesan boundaries, the place you want to start is your parish and then, if you have further questions, the (arch)diocese serving your area.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also is located in Washington. The USCCB is “an assembly of the hierarchy [bishops] of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States,” according to its website. That website has great information about the work of the Church in the United States.

Where can I find statistics about the Catholic Church?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has some great facts and figures on its website.