What is special about your parish? What is the charism of your parish? Since its founding, St. Luke’s has been dedicated to reaching out to those less fortunate, both locally and globally. Due to the parishioners’ dedication to serving the poor, plans to build a physical church on the property were postponed for more than 20 years and mass was celebrated in the school gymnasium. For many years the parish had supported the work of the St. Patrick’s Foundation in Kingston, Jamaica, and more recently the Archdiocese of Mandeville in Jamaica. The Parish Outreach Committee receives funding requests from around the world and meets semi-annually to distribute grants.
What is one unique thing that visitors to your parish should do or see during their stay? The unique architecture of the parish church houses an incredible pipe organ that dominates the sanctuary. The Steiner-Reck, Opus 104 was inaugurated in 1998 and has become the symbol of the parish’s passion for liturgical music.
In the Chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament is a unique triptych, the centerpiece of which depicts the Risen One breaking bread with his disciples at Emmaus on the evening of Easter Sunday. Images of Our Lady and Saint Luke flank the central image. The icon was “written” by Basil Lefchick of The Icon Studio in Washington and was installed in the chapel in 1998.
Outside the church is a massive sculpture depicting the crucified Christ. This sculpture, titled “The Mystical Body of Christ”, is the work of artist Muska Brzezinski and has been on display at the side of the church since 1984.
Is there a particular way in which your parish encourages and supports faith formation? The most recent parish ministry was started by one of our new staff members. Dan Catalanotto has been hired to serve as music director at St. Luke’s, following the retirement of Paul Skevington who had worked for the parish for 28 years. Danny has been a church musician for over 40 years. He feels called to minister to participants in the music ministry “to provide an outlet for them to give their gifts to God and to each other in the church.” Upon arriving at St. Luke, Catalanotto created an early childhood program — a “Cherub program” — for children ages 4 to 6. The program offers real music education while also involving parents. Ideally, these children will leave the Cherub program and join the children’s choir, better prepared to sing a repertoire of a higher order. The children’s choir (also new to the parish) was started with just a handful of singers who grew up in singing skills, music reading and performance.
How do you support the faith journey of the particular cultures represented in your parish? The parish has a number of ongoing prayer and Bible study groups which help parishioners of all ages engage more deeply in their faith. Many small groups meet almost every day of the week as we grow together in our discipleship journey. The groups found their camaraderie to be especially helpful during the height of the pandemic when they met online.
In recent years, a mass on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been organized by a group of parishioners. With the addition of mariachi, the school and the wider parish community can celebrate the patroness of the Americas in an authentic way.
What would a visitor to your parish say and how do new parishioners get involved? Visitors often comment on the welcoming atmosphere of the parish family. Our annual Ministry Fair showcases the many ways a newcomer can get involved in St. Luke’s. There are activities for parishioners of all ages, from the Cherub music program for preschoolers to a myriad of events for young people to our regular Wednesday luncheons for seniors.
What should we know about your clergy? Although they were only assigned to St. Luke together in June 2020, our Pastor, Father Richard M. Guest, and our Parish Vicar, Father Joseph F. Moschetto, have known each other for nearly 20 years. Father Moschetto attended St. Theresa’s Elementary School when Father Guest was a pastor there.
Is there a notable or long-time staff member or volunteer you would like to tell us about? Our Facilities Manager, Roberto Rocabado, has overseen the maintenance of St. Luke’s buildings and grounds for nearly three decades. He has an impeccable knowledge of plant operations and is always ready and willing to offer a helping hand to anyone who needs it. From setting up tables and chairs to making sure the PA system is ready, church groups know they can count on him to keep their meeting or event running smoothly. .
Would you like to share anything else about your parish? Our parish school is currently flourishing under the direction of our Principal, Mrs. Tanya Salewski. Like other private and parochial schools, we were able to provide our young people with in-person learning when others around us were not. Our outstanding academics taught by a stellar faculty and our loyalty to Church teaching have helped us retain a strong student population even now that public schools have reopened. The school celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
St. Luke’s Church
7001 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101
Social media: Facebook/Instagram @SaintLukeMcLean
Pastor: Pr. Richard M. Guest
Parish Vicar: Prof. Joseph F. Moschetto
Mass times: Monday-Friday, 6:45 a.m.; 9:00 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m., 5:30 p.m. (Eve); Sunday 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Confession hours: Friday, 9.30am-10am; Saturday, 4-5 p.m.
The school: Preschool to eighth grade, 250 students
7005 Georgetown Pike, McLean
Major: Tanya Salewski
Year of creation: 1961
Total parishioners: 5,309