My dear Parishioners and Friends,
Welcome to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, located at the very heart of the inner city in the historic Shaw community of Washington, DC at the corner of 8th & N Streets, Northwest!
At the Wedding Feast in Cana in Galilee, our divine Lord celebrated at table with his beloved friends and performed his first public miracle of changing large jars of water into wine for the sake of the guests. On another occasion, Jesus multiplied a few loaves and fish into thousands for the hungry masses. These and other miracles of this kind were but a foretaste and promise of the greatest miracle which we celebrate every time we come together as His people at Mass – bread and wine become His sacramental Body and Blood. In all of these miraculous events, Jesus shows the depths of His love and hospitality in service for us. He is always near to us, forever faithful and merciful.
In some way like those miracles, we are also celebrating the “miracle” of 150 years as a Parish with a beautiful church and newly renovated school which continue to serve all God’s children in the Shaw community and beyond. Our story in this historic anniversary year of celebration is written in the hearts of all of our parishioners, past and present. We have so much to be grateful for, as we remember the contributions of so many of our beloved brothers and sisters who made possible the establishment of the Parish of Immaculate Conception in 1864 and those who have sustained its vital mission since.
Anniversary celebrations are important milestones in everyone’s life. They give us the opportunity to remember the past, to celebrate the present, and to dream about the future. All of our memories of the church and school of yesteryear, our experiences now, and our hopes for our children and grandchildren all come together when we mark this 150th anniversary of Immaculate Conception at 8th and N Streets.
At this point in history, we are experiencing an exciting time of change in the life of downtown Washington and the Shaw community in particular. Some of these changes include the construction and opening of the new Washington Convention Center, located directly across the street from the church, as well as the “miracle” of a newly renovated school made possible by the incredibly generous gift of the Clark Construction Group.
We have been given so very much, and we want to hand on to our children and countless generations of parishioners to come to worship, to pray, to find a family of faith, hope, and love. Our celebration this special year should inspire us all to pray and to work together even more earnestly, so that we can pass on the beautiful gift of our Parish to those parishioners who will mark the 150th, 160th, 170th and many more anniversaries of this special gem that is Immaculate Conception at 8th and N Streets.
Miracles just don’t happen by chance. Nothing great just happens by chance. Through it all and down through these 150 years and until the end of time, the Almighty is always at work with a providential hand in the life of our Parish. To God be the glory for the past, now in the present, and for all time. We stand with grateful hearts for all the blessings He has show generously poured out on us these many years. So, let us celebrate and rejoice in His ever-abiding love and mercy. God is faithful and makes miracles happen. He made each of us; that’s proof enough of miracles!
God bless you all and thank you for your love and devotion to Immaculate Conception Parish! With a father’s care, I am
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Rev. Msgr. James D. Watkins, S.T.L., Ph.D.