I decided to visit St. Luke Church today, across the Anacostia River in east Washington, D.C. I hadn’t been to church in the Eastern part of the city in a while, and truth be told, I had never been east of the Anacostia River before. It’s located near 49th and E. Capitol St., on the dividing line between the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of the city.
The Church was fairly small and square, without any magnificent architectural flourishes. It looked a lot like St. Benedict the Moor Church, but larger. Some interesting features included large wooden statues near the front of the church, and a beautiful wall painting that served as the background of a small shrine.
I got a little lost on the way to the church (I always plan on getting lost when I go somewhere in the city) and ended up getting there a few minutes late. The Mass had already started, so I quietly took my seat. The parishioners were mostly African-American, in fact, if I observed correctly, the priest and I were the only two people in that building who were not. There was also a small choir present. Despite a few comical miscues and occasional sour notes, they did a nice job. Towards the end of the Mass, they did a moving rendition of “So Satisfied.”
The priest, Father Joe, was quite a character. A white man with a New York accent, he took a no-nonsense approach to Scripture. He summed up the story of Jesus and “doubting Thomas” in his sermon today, describing Thomas as “a day late and a dollar short.” Jesus appears to the Apostles in a locked room, and says, “Yo, Thomas, come here!” Thomas does not believe that Christ is risen until he sees Jesus. Then Jesus says, “blessed are those who have not yet seen, but still believe.” Finally, he called on the parishioners to bring people to Christ by doing good works.
St. Luke Website
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