St. Benedict the Moor Parish in Washington Celebrates 70 Years of Faith in the Nation’s Capital

Monday, December 12, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.The Catholic community of St. Benedict the Moor in Washington is celebrating their parish’s 70th anniversary this year. On Sunday, December 11, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, marked the milestone anniversary with the parish faithful.

Archbishop Michael Joseph Curley, who at the time was jointly the archbishop of Baltimore and the archbishop of the newly-created archdiocese of Washington, established the parish in 1946. In 1952, the current church building was dedicated by Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle; a convent and school under the care of the Oblate Sisters of Providence was opened. Cardinal O’Boyle desegregated parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Washington long before the Supreme Court of the United States declared segregation to be unconstitutional. Parishioners realized they were part of something much bigger and greater than any human imposed injustice, said Cardinal Wuerl in his homily. They recognized that they were part of God’s Church–his people and family. “This parish stands today as a living tribute to the great faith of the African-American members of the Church who have always been faithful to the Lord, his Gospel and his Church – even in the face of the injustice and inequity of segregation,” Cardinal Wuerl continued.

The cardinal spoke of how the church’s milestone anniversary can be connected to the universal Church and how the parish anniversary reminds us to foster the same faith and love of past generations in the Church.

“In both good times and bad, when faced with segregation and working towards desegregation, when enduring injustice and struggling for justice – a fidelity – a faithfulness: 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” is something to celebrate today, the cardinal concluded. He encouraged the congregation to ask God for blessings for the future and to evangelize– through a renewal of faith and confidence in its truth and power so it may be shared with others.


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 Lizzie Wahle
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