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St. Joseph's Catholic Church (Washington, D.C.)

  (Redirected from St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill)

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, also commonly known as St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill, is a parish of the Roman Catholic Church in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the Archdiocese of Washington. The church is located less than half a mile from the United States Capitol Building and United States Supreme Court Building.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church
St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill
Photograph from the street looking up at St. Joseph's Catholic Church
St. Joseph's Catholic Church is located in Washington, D.C.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church
St. Joseph's Catholic Church
38°53′37″N 77°00′19″W / 38.8937°N 77.0052°W / 38.8937; -77.0052Coordinates: 38°53′37″N 77°00′19″W / 38.8937°N 77.0052°W / 38.8937; -77.0052
Location313 2nd Street NE,
Washington, D.C.
CountryUnited States
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusParish church
FoundedOctober 25, 1868
DedicationSaint Joseph
DedicatedJanuary 18, 1891
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeChurch
Pastor(s)Rev. William H. Gurnee III

The church was founded by German immigrants. On October 25, 1868 when a reported crowd of 20,000 people, including President Andrew Johnson, came to lay the cornerstone.[1] The architect was from Cologne, Germany and modeled St. Joseph's design after the Cologne Cathedral.[2] The church was constructed of brown stone from Hershey, Pennsylvania and cost $75,000 to build.[1] It was dedicated on January 18, 1891.[1] Masses were originally said in Latin (as it was everywhere before 1964) with homilies in German until Italian immigrant stonemasons working on expansion of the Capitol began joining the congregation.[2] The church underwent an extensive renovation and restoration beginning in 2002.[3]

The church's proximity to the Supreme Court, Capitol, and congressional office buildings have attracted many members of Congress, congressional staffers, and Supreme Court justices to daily Mass.[2] St. Joseph is located on the Senate side of the Capitol, and is commonly known as the Senate church, while its counterpart on the House side of the Capitol, St. Peter's, is commonly known as the House church.[4] Those known to attend daily Mass at St. Joseph's include Senator John E. Kenna,[5] Senator Robert F. Kennedy,[6] Senator Ted Kennedy,[7] and Antonin Scalia.[8] In 2017, the church began holding an annual "Gold Mass" for congressional staffers.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "About Us | St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill". Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  2. ^ a b c For 150 years, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church has served as a place of refuge and unity on Capitol Hill (Catholic Standard)
  3. ^ "Restoration of St. Joseph's | St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill". Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  4. ^ In Church, Members Leave Politics at the Door (Roll Call)
  5. ^ Google Books Donahoe's Magazine, Volume 27, 1892
  6. ^ A Changed Man (Washington Post)
  7. ^ Catholicism was comfort, conflict for Kennedy (AP)
  8. ^ Mourners praise life and legacy of Justice Scalia (Catholic Herald)
  9. ^ Courage of St. Joseph highlighted at Mass for Congressional staffers (Catholic News Agency)

External linksEdit