Wishing all of my friends and followers, subscribers and readers, tweeps and igers, a very Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
Light in L’Enfant / Festivity in Foggy Bottom
Thank you again to all of those who attended and shared my post on New Liturgical Movement about Advent Stations with the Dominicans at St. Dominic’s Church in the L’Enfant Plaza neighborhood of DC. This is the second year that the friars have held what they hope will become an annual event here in the Nation’s Capital, and appropriately enough the size of the congregation doubled from last year. (I suppose it is too much to expect that the attendance will therefore triple next year, but who knows?)
You can see some mediocre photographs I took over on my Instagram account, but you can see some superb ones by my friend Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., over on the New Liturgical Movement website.
It was a beautiful evening of light, music, scripture, prayer, and preaching, and one which I highly recommend that you put on your advanced planning calendar for next year.
For those of you who will be in the Washington, D.C. area over Christmas, and are considering where (or if) to attend services, I want to put in a plug for my parish of St. Stephen Martyr in Foggy Bottom.
As I regularly observe on social media, our choir and organist/music director are stupendous, which is no exaggeration. Friends from social media who are not Catholic OR Christian have joined us for Mass at St. Stephen’s, and come away astounded by how beautiful the music is. On Christmas Eve we will be having carols at 6:00 pm, followed by Mass at 6:30 pm, and you are most welcome to attend and celebrate with us. Given the very warm weather we will be having – the forecast high for DC on Christmas Eve is 76 F – and the relatively early hour, you can join us and still have time to go to dinner, put the kids to bed for Santa, or start watching that “Elf” or “Christmas Story” marathon. As an aside, I will be giving one of the Scripture readings from the Acts of the Apostles, so if you do attend I hope you will take a moment to say hello.
For those of my readers who are in, or who find themselves in, the Nation’s Capital over the next few weeks, there are three upcoming events that I would like to draw to your attention. All are free and open to the public…and may I hasten to add, this includes the non-Catholic public. Plus, at the first you will have the chance to see me make a mockery of myself in public, which is always a very good thing.
Wednesday, December 9th
Christmas Poetry in DC
Catholic Information Center
1501 K Street NW
(Metro: McPherson Square)
The Thomas More Society of America is sponsoring its annual “Christmas Poetry in DC” evening at the Catholic Information Center, and I’m honored to have been asked to return once again and give a reading. Over the past few years of participating in this event, I’ve become something like the comic relief portion of the program, but then I’m always happy to poke fun at myself. This is always a fun evening with a great turnout, and a wonderful opportunity to meet people, including some of the readers whom you may recognize from media, law, and so forth.
Sunday, December 13th
Advent Lessons and Carols
St. Luke’s Ordinariate Community
1315 8th Street NW
(Metro: Mt. Vernon Square/Convention Center)
It’s been several years now since the Episcopalian parish of St. Luke’s came into communion with the Catholic Church via the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, thanks to the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI. Now established at Immaculate Conception Church, located directly behind the DC Convention Center, the community is hosting their annual service of Advent Lessons and Carols with music by Palestrina, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, and François Poulenc, among others. I was fortunate to attend last year, and was impressed (though not surprised) by the beauty and good taste of the music, but also with the magnificence of the Gothic Revival-style church itself, which I had never visited before. It was built between 1864-1865, and has been beautifully restored to its Victorian glory. Even if you are not Catholic, but appreciate fine architecture and sacred music, do plan to attend if you can.
Saturday, December 19th
St. Dominic’s Church
630 E Street SW
(Metro: L’Enfant Plaza)
Those who are regular readers know that I am a self-proclaimed fanboy of the Order of Preachers, a.k.a. the Dominicans. We are very fortunate here in DC to have not only the Dominican House of Studies and Priory of the Immaculate Conception, but also the parish of St. Dominic’s, a gorgeous Gothic Revival church built in 1875 and run by the Dominican friars. Chances are if you’ve been on 395 heading to or from Capitol Hill, you’ve seen the huge, stone steeple of St. Dominic’s from the highway. This is the second year in which the friars will be hosting Advent Stations in the church, and you really want to make the time to attend this if you can. The entire service is conducted in a completely darkened church, lit only by quite literally thousands of candles lining the altars, stairs, floors, and held by the attendees. It is really an experience, and the atmosphere is like stepping back a thousand years or more. There will be readings/preaching, as well as superb music, followed by a reception in the church hall afterwards.