Wednesday, March 12, 2008

St. Mary's, Washington, DC

St. Mary's on 5th and H Streets

Looking at the sanctuary. (The crucifixes and statues of veneration have been veiled in violet.)

Looking at the rear of the church from in front of the sanctuary.

The Sanctuary:

The high altar. (At the base of the steps to the high altar is what the faithful affectionally call the "Cranmer table (not seen here)." The wooden altar used for the ordinary form of Mass is jacked up and wheeled out before the start of Sunday Mass in the extraordinary form. At least, no one cemented a new immovable altar into the sanctuary. But, is it not odd that a wooden table without a relic has to be used for Mass while there is a beautiful marble altar. Post-Vatican II insanity!)

The altar rail is utilized every Sunday at the extraordinary form of the Mass.
(Fortunately, being in a poor neighborhood (although that seems to be changing) saved much of St. Mary's from destruction by liturgical vandals.)

The ambo

The baptismal font (presently within the sanctuary).

The altar dedicated in honor of St. Anthony in the rear of the church - where the Baptismal font used to be! (It was moved by a previous pastor. Notice behind the veiled statue there is a stained glass window depicting the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Jordan. Interestingly, there is a confessional screen for the "Second Baptism" of Penance where the font probably once stood.)

The confessional across from the altar of St. Anthony.
(A kind lady explained to me that the confessional was from St. Patrick's on 10th and G. (I don't remember seeing confessionals in St. Patrick's. There was a Reconciliation room near the entrance.) )

Stained glass windows in the sanctuary declaring the title of the church:

Sancta Maria

Mater Dei

Ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

The four evangelists, also within the sanctuary:

Stained glass windows in the nave:

Side altars:

The Miraculous Medal Novena is prayed every Monday.

The altar dedicated in honor of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
The current pastor, Fr. Alfred J. Harris, is gradually restoring it. (Anyone who would like to make a donation for the restoration might contact the pastor.)

The altar dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Stations of the Cross:

Examples of the stations of the Cross. (Supposedly, one previous pastor knocked off the cross on the top of each. Fortunately, someone more respectful of tradition and the sensibilities of the faithful restored them.)


Anonymous said...

"Examples of the stations of the Cross. (Supposedly, one previous pastor knocked off the cross on the top of each...)"

It just show's the ignorance of these people! It's actually the Crosses which are the Stations! The images beneath them are only there to aid meditation. Thank God for the person who restored them.

The Bovina Bloviator said...

Ironic and divine justice, perhaps, that the poorer churches are often the least vandalized, not having had the bucks to be "updated" or "improved." Holy Innocents in NYC, of which you wrote earlier, is another fine example of this; preserved in amber, as it were.

willcubbedge said...

My wife and I were married here at a solemn high Trid mass in 2005.

St. Mary's poverty has surely saved it from the wreckovators. But, until a few years ago (about 2002 or so), there was little keeping it from being wrecker balled. There was no neighborhood to speak of, as almost all of the residences that sustained the parish had been abandoned after the riots and torn down. It was within a few blocks of several vacant city blocks, used for event parking for the (then) MCI Center. The thing that kept the Archdiocese from selling her off years ago was the fact the the Archdiocese, strictly speaking, does not own the land outright.

Supposedly the land was conveyed to the Church 150 years ago in a conditional lease which states that, should the property ever not be used by and for the Church as a parish, it will revert to the heirs of the original grantors, which must number in the hundreds by now. So, in the 1960's and 70's, when the Government Accounting Office bought out the rest of the block (formerly rowhouses) in order to build its HQ, the Archdiocese held out, as it was not at liberty to part with the property, at least not for any financial gain. And now, when you visit ST. Mary's, it sits in a corner of the block overshadowed by the massive GAO building.


Viator Catholicus said...

Thanks for the history. I had done some research and been planning a post on Van Ness, the donor.

willcubbedge said...

No problem.

Also, I should have used the word "deed" when I used the word "lease."