St. Patrick Parish in Rockville Celebrates 50 Years
Saturday May 28, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Catholic community of St. Patrick’s in Rockville, Md. celebrates their 50th anniversary this year. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington marked the special milestone anniversary by celebrating Mass with the parish faithful today He was joined by the priests who have served the parish over the last fifty years.
Cardinal Wuerl began his homily by reflecting on the rich history of Rockville during the Civil War. Congregations would gather in churches and private homes, and Catholic soldiers, both Union and Confederate, benefitted from the Catholic heritage of Maryland and Montgomery County. This history, the cardinal said, is part of a wider, Universal Church that is present throughout the entire world.
“The Pope 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. We recognize that it is precisely in his Church established by Jesus that we continue to find Jesus today,” said the cardinal.
Referencing the Gospel reading of the day on the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, which are signs of the heavenly food Jesus provides the Church, the cardinal said, “Today the Church celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ, the recognition that in the Eucharist, Jesus continues to remain with his Church.” He continued, “The celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ today is our remembrance of the fulfillment of that pledge.”
Cardinal Wuerl reflected on Pope Benedict XVI’s 2005 encyclical, Deus caritas est (God is love), and the description provided of the ancient Church in the Acts of the Apostles. That description can still be used to describe Church life today, which is to pray, to hear the teaching of the Apostles, to build community and to join in breaking of the bread, said the cardinal.
“What we see here at Saint Patrick’s Parish we see throughout the entire diocesan Church, we see in fact throughout the whole Church Universal,” said the cardinal. “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. But we do not just celebrate the past and look back on the accomplishments of the parish. Today we look also to the present moment and to the future,” said the cardinal. As he concluded his homily, the cardinal encouraged the faithful gathered to pass on the faith as their ancestors did for many years. “Our celebration today is of the faith and of this family that has fostered and loved the faith. The future is ours too. Who could have ever said what was to come, so too we must be ready to address the future full of faith.”
St. Patrick’s parish is home to approximately 1,900 families and provides over 30 ministries to serve the local Rockville community.
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.