I am writing this post the morning after Election Day. The Donald is our new president-elect. Which parish is now responsible for his immortal soul?
I stayed up way too late last night and, in my bleary-eyed state, wondered what parish is home to the White House.
It turns out the executive mansion is within the boundaries of St. Patrick’s Church, which is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
It was built in 1794 to serve the needs of the Irish workers building the new Capitol and White House, hence the name. Construction on the current church began in 1872 and was completed in 1884.
In a cool bit of trivia, the first American to ever be ordained a priest in the U.S. became the pastor of St. Pat’s in 1904. The history webpage of St. Patrick’s Parish tells us that Fr. William Matthews was also
President of Georgetown University, Administrator of the Philadelphia Diocese, co-founder of the D.C. Public Library, long-time member of the D.C. Public School Board, as well as founder or promoter of innumerable institutions (e.g. Gonzaga College, Visitation Convent, and St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum). As the “Catholic Patriarch of Washington,” Father Matthews was on close terms with Washington notables such as Henry Clay and Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney; Presidents Zachery Taylor and John Quincy Adams attended parish events. Fr. Matthews’ passing in 1854 marked a long era of Catholic involvement in the Federal City’s civic life.
I’m telling you, people were just better in the old days.
Go read through the full history of the church — it is a really fascinating look at American history through the lens of a single parish.