Holy Trinity History

Slavery, Segregation, and Race in Our Parish

We invite Holy Trinity parishioners and others to learn more about the role of slavery, segregation, and race in Holy Trinity’s history. We hope that, in throwing more light on our parish’s past, our work will open doors to reflecting on that past and on its implications for our present, and inspire our daily interactions with others. Members of our group include: Peter Albert, Marilyn Butler, Bernard Cook, Brian Flanagan, Peter Higgins, Ashley Klick, Paul Maco, Mary Moran, Suzanne Noonan, Duane Nystrom, and Linda Nystrom.

Initially, we will post our work in the form of articles, vignettes, brief biographies of early parishioners and clergy, and events and episodes in their lives. Over time, our efforts may expand to include audio and video interviews, oral histories, and discussions.

We begin our effort, as the Archdiocese of Washington celebrates National Catholic Black History Month, with a series of short articles on a painful story from our past – the exodus of Holy Trinity's African American members from the parish in 1923, their creation of the parish at Epiphany Roman Catholic Church, and the reconciliation service held for members of the Epiphany and Holy Trinity communities in 1994.

Holy Trinity Parish and Race: An Overview

Extracts from the Journal of Fr. John McElroy, S.J.

Parishioner Peter Albert details what we know of Holy Trinity's treatment of enslaved African Americans in the 19th century through diary entries of Holy Trinity assistant pastor and Georgetown procurator Fr. John McElroy, S.J. His papers reveal how commonplace it was to buy and sell enslaved individuals, with each transaction duly set down in the records of the procurator’s office at Georgetown.

Who Is My Neighbor? 

When Black Holy Trinity parishioners proposed opening their own church in 1923, Bishop Michael Curley, the prelate with jurisdiction over Washington, D.C., wanted a survey done to list the families and where they lived. Who were the African Americans who left Holy Trinity?

Maryland Jesuits & Slavery