Of all the churches in Washington DC, St Patrick’s Catholic Church is unique because it is considered the oldest church in Washington DC!
St Patrick’s Catholic Church is the oldest parish in Washington DC, having been founded in 1794. We were fortunate enough to see it while it was decorated for the holidays. However, even without the decorations, it’s a beautiful church with a lot of unique items and elements.
The church was originally built to fulfill the spiritual needs of the many Irish immigrants that were in the area. At the time, many of the Irish immigrants were stonemasons that helped build the White House and the US Capitol. It’s no wonder then, that the church was named after the patron saint of Ireland.
Over the years, the church has had a few updates. The present building is considered the third church building, and was completed in the 1880s. The exterior was constructed in the Victorian Gothic Revival style. And yes, there are gargoyles!
Inside, the church is beautiful…
The sanctuary crucifix was designed in a Celtic style and is 13 feet tall.
While we were visiting the church, we had the pleasure of hearing the organ being played. St. Patrick’s was the first of any church in Washington DC to install an organ. A few organs have been installed since then, but the present organ is considered one of the best in the city.
The statue of the Blessed Mother was made of Carrara marble in France in 1916. The alter that the statue sits on is made of both Vermont and Mexican marble and features Gothic embellishments.
There are four holy water fonts that were personally chosen for the church by Monsignor William T. Russell, the sixth pastor of St. Patrick’s. He selected the genuflecting angels while he was traveling through Europe and he believed they provided the church with a “real touch of Italian art.”
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As we walked around DC, it was really nice to stumble upon this beautiful church and thought the architecture and detailing inside were quite extraordinary. We loved the history behind it as well; learning that it was the first church (of any denomination) in DC made it that much more interesting.
Have you been to St Patrick’s Church? Are there any other churches in Washington DC that you’d recommend? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂