Message from the Pastor


This week's column is written by Fr. Eric Studt, S.J.

Bulletin Issue: August 12 & 19, 2018

Summers are a preferred time for weddings at Holy Trinity. Our weddings coordinator, Helene Flanagan, and our director of music ministries, Kathy DeJardin, are always busy planning the details so that these celebrations proceed prayerfully, efficiently and smoothly. During my time here, I only had the opportunity to witness one marriage, but it made a big impression on me.

This was the wedding of two young parishioners at Holy Trinity. I met with them once before the marriage, and I was astounded at how they articulated the sacramental aspects of their upcoming marriage. They explained to me that they wanted to get married in a church because they wanted their marriage to be a sign of God’s faithful love to their parish community and to their wider circle of friends and family. I was convinced that this couple wasn’t just paying lip service to the Church’s understanding of marriage. They are the real deal. A couple of weeks ago I ran into them shortly before one of the weekend masses. David Pennington was training them both to be sacristans. Just weeks after they had celebrated their marriage, they were looking for ways to be more involved in the life of their parish. Their ministry as sacristans was one of the ways they had decided to witness to God’s faithful love as a couple.

I mention this couple because they are an example of what makes Holy Trinity special. Parishioners here don’t usually just come to church for weddings, for the baptisms of their children, for funerals, or for Mass. Parishioners here are often involved in parish life in its various forms, whether at the school, in religious education, in liturgical ministry, or in social justice initiatives. If nothing else, parishioners stand around after Mass in the church or in McKenna Hall in order to catch up with friends.

Of course, the seven sacraments are important. They are tangible experiences of God’s presence with the Church. When the young couple was speaking their vows to each other, I could feel Christ palpably present. Sometimes we forget, however, that the Church is itself a sacrament. The Church is the Body of Christ, a living expression of God’s presence in the world. What I have most appreciated about Holy Trinity is that parishioners not only take the seven sacraments seriously; they also take the sacramentality of their parish community seriously. This parish makes Christ palpably present to so many in the Washington, DC area.

I am deeply grateful that you have invited me into your community over the past couple of months and have allowed me to experience Christ in your midst. Please keep me in your prayers, and I will keep you in mine.