On April 3, my good friend Dan and I visited Assumption Catholic Church, in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast Washington. It’s been a few weeks since that visit, so I’m having a hard time remembering the finer points of the Mass, but I can affirmatively say that Dan and I absolutely loved this church. According to a parish history given to me after Mass, the parish was formed in 1916, and their current church building was finished in 1933. The church building reminded me a lot of the chapel at St. Anselm’s Abbey because of its pentagonal face, brick walls, and slanted wooden roof.
There was a small choir providing the music, made up of six or seven ladies and a man accompanying them on the piano. They seemed to incorporate a gospel style of music, but their hymns were less fiery and energetic than those of, for example, St. Teresa of Avila parish or St. Augustine parish. I enjoyed this calmer form of worship, which seemed appropriate for this small, intimate church.
Undoubtedly, my favorite part of the service was Father Montgomery’s homily. He was incredibly entertaining, charismatic, and delivered some clear, important messages from the day’s Gospel readings. He started off by questioning the validity of televangelists like Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn. If these people really have such a great connection with God, he asked, why do they continually face health and marital problems? He then jokingly suggested that he could bring in as many donations as these televangelists by holding a “healing,” where he would slap his parishioners around and then send them running into the street yelling, “I’m healed!!” He then discussed the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus healed a blind man. In Jesus’ time, many saw blindness as a punishment from God for sinning, but Jesus refused to speculate on the man’s past and relieved him of his blindness anyway. This was evidence, said Father Montgomery, that our God is not a vengeful God, but a God of “compassion and mercy.”
Churches I've Been To So Far (29!)
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