Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Washington Celebrates 125 Years

Monday, May 2, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Catholic community of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Washington, DC celebrates their 125th anniversary this year. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington celebrated Mass with the parish faithful to mark the special milestone anniversary on Sunday, May 1.

The cardinal began his homily by reflecting on the beginnings of the Church of Washington. The celebration today, the cardinal continued, reminds us that our faith community in the local Church is part of a wider, Universal Church, which serves as a spiritual gift as we “make our way through life.” He continued, “Our spiritual history, our history as a faith family, our history as the Church begins with the coming of Jesus. We identify ourselves as a faith community as people who accept Jesus, His Gospel, His teaching and follow Him in the hope of someday joining Him forever in the glory of His heavenly Father.”

“Pope Francis teaches us that in hearing and accepting Jesus’ Gospel and message, we do so not just as individuals but as God’s family, His Church,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Wuerl referenced the Gospel reading for the day, which reminded the faithful that whoever loves God and keeps his word, the Father “will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

“This dwelling of God with us is found in the Church and specifically in our parishes,” the Cardinal said, reflecting on the Gospel message. “The Gospel of today reminds us of the promise Jesus made to his disciples to send them the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.”

“The action of the Spirit in the Church is the sign of Christ’s presence among his people and the driving force of her evangelizing outreach. The promise of the Spirit is directed primarily to the Apostles. All the believers in Christ will continue to receive the Spirit, the forgiveness of sins and the peace it brings through the ministry of these chosen messengers,” said the cardinal.

“When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the memorial of her Lord’s death and Resurrection, this central event of salvation becomes really present and ‘the work of our redemption is carried out,’” said Cardinal Wuerl, referencing Saint John Paul II’s 2003 encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. What is seen at Holy Name parish is seen throughout the entire archdiocesan Church and throughout the whole Church Universal, he continued.

“We are God’s people. We come together to be formed by God’s Word. We come together to be nourished by the sacraments most particularly the Eucharist. And we come together so that out of God’s love for us and our love for God and one another we can care for the needs of one another. What we celebrate today, then, is the fidelity of this portion of God’s family to the mission of the Church, to God’s plan, to God’s Word, to God’s sacramental presence with us, and to the recognition of our identity as God’s family,” said the cardinal.

In 1891, Holy Name Parish was established to meet the needs of the growing Catholic community in northeast Washington. Holy Name parish is located in the NOMA neighborhood of Washington and is home to approximately 200 families. In 2015, Pope Francis signed a decree that Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz, a missionary priest from Washington D.C., who attended Holy Name School and attended Holy Name parish, had lived a life of “heroic virtue,” and declared him as “Venerable,” which is a step in the process for sainthood in the Catholic Church.  Monsignor Schwartz is the first Washingtonian to receive this distinction. The cause for canonization is being promoted by the Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippines where Father Schwartz had served for many years, died, and is now buried.


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi or Lindsey Frechou
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