11 January 2010

St. Thomas Apostle Church

On Saturday evening, I returned to Washington from an enjoyable three weeks off from school. So naturally, on Sunday morning, I was right back in the swing of things, strolling through the deserted streets of downtown Washington, D.C. in search of another unknown Catholic parish. Oh, and by the way, it’s 30 degrees outside.

I figured I’d venture a little bit out of the core of the city, to St. Thomas Apostle Church, in the Woodley Park neighborhood. It’s a few miles north of the downtown area, about a block from the Woodley Park Metro stop (Red Line). It’s also not far from the National Zoo. (As I was walking through the neighborhood, a mother with children in tow asked me how to get to the zoo. I pointed her in the right direction, but why anyone would want to walk around all day in freezing temperatures to see a bunch of lazy pandas and monkeys is beyond me.)

St. Thomas Apostle isn’t a very large church, and it isn’t built in the pseudo-Gothic style that many of the other churches in the city are built in. My guess is that it was built in the 1950’s or 1960’s. Aesthetically, it looked like a mix between an office building and my aunt Mayme’s house. Check out my pictures for details.

The priest, Father Charles, was a black man who had recently immigrated to the United States. Judging by his accent, he was probably from somewhere in Africa. He was a little bit hard to understand sometimes, but for the most part I knew what he was saying (Though I giggled a little when he pronounced “humanity” “’oo-manity”). He was very animated, using broad, emphatic gestures to help articulate his message. His homily was both a discussion of the reading and a call to action. Today’s reading discussed the work of John the Baptist, who baptized people with water as a sort of “certification” of being a member of God’s chosen people, in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Father Charles said that now, our “certification” as members of the assembly of God is taking up the mission of evangelization. He said that he was disappointed when he heard that only 10% of D.C. residents were Catholic. He called upon the congregation to allow others to “see Christ in them,” and bring them into the Catholic Church.

Pictures (click to enlarge):

Here’s something I should have posted before. This is the Google Maps page that I’ve compiled with every Church that I plan to visit. Click on the (+) and (-) signs to zoom in and out. Click on the markers to see which church is located at the marked location.

View Catholic Churches in Washington, D.C. in a larger map


  1. It is rather arrogant and unChristianof you to make fun of Father Charles's accent. You are in church - you should have respected his humanity rather than "giggling" at his pronunciation. If you were not so witless you would have recognized that he is from a French speaking African country and pronounced the word humanity as would a native French speaker. As for the women and children, perhaps that was the only day the woman could take her children to the zoo. Judge not least ye be judged. Unfortunately, it seems that in focusing on visiting every Catholic church in DC you seemed to have lost sight of the reason we go to church - to Love God and love thy neighbor.

  2. Relax. He is sharing his perspective. No attribution
    I like the ambitious and open approach to exploring the many churches of D.C. Worthy and mo
    And most interesting