Georgetown's Communities of Faith: Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity Catholic Church has served the community and its families and has been a part of Georgetown history since 1794.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church occupies most of a block in the shadow of Georgetown University on 36th Street between N and O streets. The church is flanked by the two wings of Holy Trinity School, founded in 1818, and abuts the St. Ignatius Loyola Chapel on N Street.
Although this historic Jesuit church hosts important religious ceremonies for parishoners like Tim Russert and R. Sargeant Shriver, it regularly serves approximately 3,600 registered parish families from across the region. Holy Trinity estimates that about 40 percent of its families come from VA, another 40 percent from MD and the remaining 20 percent are from D.C. There are about 525 registered families from the 20007 zip code.
Each weekend Holy Trinity regularly offers six masses, each mass is a mix of "regulars," visitors and college students. Early Sunday morning mass is focused on families with children and fills the main church as well as the adjacent Holy Trinity School Theater and the Chapel. Sunday evening mass is usually home to nearby college students and offers a more contemporary musical program.
Father Mark Horak is the current pastor and serves the parish with a number of longterm and newer priests who live in the nearby rectory or locally. Children in the parish cannot get enough of the young golden lab who lives with the priests and can be seen looking for a head scratch or a cuddle. He's named "Flannery" after the author Flannery O'Connor.
Holy Trinity is the oldest Catholic church in D.C. and the original 1794 structure is the St. Ignatius Loyola Chapel perched on O Street. The current interior of the chapel is both sacred and contemporary. The church facing 36th street was constructed thirty years after the parish outgrew the original chapel and is now the main sanctuary. During the Civil War, Holy Trinity was used as a Union hospital and returned to the parish with compensation for the years lost. Now the sanctuary is both elegant and timeless in its simplicity.
As reflected by its Jesuit roots, Holy Trinity takes an active role in serving the Georgetown community and beyond. The church is one of a number of local faith communities that participate in an annual winter shelter ministry. Partipating churches rotate responsibility for housing and feeding a number of local homeless individuals.
Holy Trinity parishoners are recruited to prepare, serve and stay with homeless neighbors who are housed on church grounds for two weeks. This year Holy Trinity's assignment occured over the Christmas holidays and organizers had to turn away interested volunteers.
The parish also supports parishoners and students active with the nearby Georgetown Ministry Center as well as other nonprofits spread throughout D.C. These organizations serve a number of special needs such as housing, hunger, economic opportunity, health care and so on. The church is also a founding member of the Georgetown Ministry Association which meets monthly and hosts events such as an ecumenical prayer services during Christian Unity Week.