On Sunday, August 14, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Washington, D.C. celebrated it’s 100th year with a Centennial Mass and luncheon. Bishop Wuerl was in attendance and parishioners from throughout the years came to honor the history and faithfulness of this parish home. Enjoy these images from the event.
Congratulations on your 100th anniversary! I am so happy for you, and proud of you as your spiritual father. When we kicked off our jubilee celebration last August, I wrote to you about the spiritual significance of our anniversary:
It is a year of particular celebration and graces that originated in Sacred Scripture and has been carried through Sacred Tradition: “The notion of a ‘jubilee’ year is rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures that celebrated an outpouring of God’s mercy and forgiveness in a special way every 50 years, as reflected in the Book of Leviticus (25:8-13)…
The notion of a special jubilee year celebrating God’s forgiveness and mercy was taken over by Christians, and history records the first Christian jubilee year in 1300, called by Pope Boniface VIII. Approximately every 50 to 25 years since that time, the Church has celebrated these special ‘Holy Years’ to mark the outpouring of God’s grace and mercy.
God wants to bless us abundantly during our Jubilee year! Through the intercession of our patroness, Our Lady of the Assumption, may we be open as individuals and as a parish to all the graces, indulgences, and blessings of the Lord in this centennial Year of Jubilee.
Through the intercession of our Lady, the Lord has indeed bestowed many special blessings and graces upon us throughout this year (the Year of Mercy, too). We have celebrated monthly Community Sundays, Healing Masses, and Revival Nights, welcomed many inspiring speakers, reinstituted Children’s Masses, offered spiritual nourishment weekly to guests of the Outreach Center in addition to physical nourishment, prepared to evangelize our neighborhood through street evangelization, and provided more consistent and fruitful ministry to the sick, homebound, and bereaved. Phew, God has been busy through us! All of these (and more) are signs of God’s abundant graces during our jubilee. Hopefully, we have honored the memory and inspiring tradition of our parish ancestors, and that that will continue for the next 100 years.
Below is a beautiful poem by Judy Crowe for a church celebrating a significant anniversary. Enjoy this special time in the history of our parish!
May you know the peace of Christ,
“Happiness grows as each year passes And trials test the love that will grow. Pleasures of the heart remain a treasure, Perhaps a memory of some time ago. Yesterday’s joys are your heart’s treasure And love remains to guard the store. Now and then we are reminded, It is love (the key) that unlocks the door. Vivid are the scenes of days gone by, Each thought, a page from the past, Reminding us that God guides our path and Yielding to His will, our love will last.” by Judy Crowe
On All Saints Day, we celebrate all the men and women (canonized and uncanonized
saints) who reside in heaven. I’d like to draw special attention to one of the saints on
the rear wall of our church: St. Martin de Porres. Please read below about his life and
his healing ministry. We should make this patron saint of African Americans the
patron saint of our healing Masses (next one is Nov. 7), too!
From Lima, Peru he was often called Saint Martin of Charity; and the Saint of the
Broom (for his devotion to his work, no matter how menial). De Porres was the
(illegitimate) son of a Spanish nobleman and a young freed Black slave, he grew up in
poverty. De Porres spent part of his youth with a surgeon-barber where he learned
some medicine and how to care for the sick. At age 11 he became a servant in the
Promoted to almoner, he solicited (begged) more than $2,000 a week from the rich to
support the poor and sick of Lima. He was put in charge of the Dominican’s infirmary;
and was known for his care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. His superiors
dropped the stipulation that “no black person may be received to the holy habit or
profession of our order.” De Porres also took vows as a Dominican brother;
established an orphanage and children’s hospital for the poor children of the areas
slums. He even set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to
health. Martin de Porres lived in self-imposed austerity, never ate meat, fasted
continuously, and spent much time in prayer and meditation.
He had great devotion to the Eucharist and was venerated from the day of his death.
The first Black saint in the Americas, Martin de Porres died of fever in 1639.
Many other stories of Martín’s goodness pertained to his unwavering efforts to help
Lima’s poor and ill, often against the wishes of his superiors at the monastery. A sick,
aged street person, almost naked and covered with open sores, was taken by Martín to
his own bed at the monastery. A fellow monk was horrified, but Martín responded
(according to the Lives of the Saints reported on the website of Canada’s Monastery of
the Magnificat), “Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect
that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears
I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate
He treated victims of bubonic plague without regard to whether they were white,
black, or Native American. During one plague outbreak, he brought a wounded Native
American man into the monastery for treatment even though the Superior
administrator of the province had forbidden the admission of the sick owing to fears
of contagion. Given a reprimand for disobedience, Martín replied (according to the
Monastery of the Magnificat site), “Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did
not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.
–Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Greg Shaffer
3401 Martin Luther King Jr. AVE, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Fr. Greg Cell: 240-463-9960
Outreach Center: 202-561-5941
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