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Issue 16 – Easter 2023

Brass Rubbings

Overnight Adoration

On Saint Rita of Cascia in Alexandria, Virginia.


What a difference faithfulness makes. That’s the lesson of my Washington, D.C.–area parish, easily one of the most vibrant in the region. In the past twenty years, Saint Rita Catholic Church has transformed from a fading parish with a small, gray-haired population into a booming community of young, diverse families with an overpowering sense of orthodoxy and zeal. The pandemic only strengthened Saint Rita’s reputation as a place where authentic Catholics can be sated by the riches of the Church and the person of Jesus Christ.

I encountered Saint Rita in 2011, as a non-Catholic looking for a half-decent R.C.I.A. program. My first few attempts, at D.C. parishes close to where I worked, left a lot to be desired. I grew up in an Evangelical Protestant missionary family, and I wanted my initial Catholic education to be rigorous and grounded in something more than mere personality and emotion. A couple friends recommended I try Saint Rita, which turned out to be the closest parish to my apartment. I dutifully tramped down to the church on a Tuesday night.

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About the author

Stephen Ford

Stephen Ford is the founder of West Exec Writing. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.