Hymns of Praise

By: Michael Folmar, Seminarian

IMG_2805 (1)On July 3, I attended Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alexandria. St Joseph’s Catholic Church is founded through the Order of the Society of St. Joseph, the Josephites. The Joseph
ites are a religious community of Catholic priests and brothers, who serve the African-American community through the proclamation of the Gospel and their personal witness.When arriving at the Church, do not let the small size —which recently celebrated its centennial anniversary — trick you. Despite its stature, it is overflowing with Christ’s love.

This parish is full of parishioners ready to warmly greet and welcome you. Each month — on the first and third Sunday — the 11 a.m. Mass is filled with the sounds of their renowned Gospel choir. The amazing choir which gave glory and praise to God and left all who entered the Church with immediately have a sense of belonging. After Mass, I felt as if I was leaving a Church dear to my heart.  Thank you to Dcn. Albert Anderson, chairman of the Black Catholic Ministry of our Diocese, and to Fr. Donald Fest, S.S.J., pastor of St. Joseph, for welcoming me at their parish.

Cameroon Picture #2After attending Mass in Alexandria, I made another stop to partake in a Cameroonian Mass. This Mass is only held at 2:45 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Vienna. During the Mass, I found the Cameroonian tradition of the priest elevating the Host and Precious Blood at their respective times during the consecration, while singing a hymn of praise to our God to be truly edifying. A final thank you to Fr. William J. Metzger, O.S.F.S., as well as to all the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, who administer this parish and George Nformi, who coordinates this Mass. Overall, this past weekend proved to be one of strikingly beautiful music for our Lord.

Michael Folmar is a seminarian for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. This fall he will enter his third Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg. This summer, Michael is serving as an intern in the Office of Multicultural Ministries. Each week he attends a different Mass and writes about his experience at “United through Diversity: One in Christ”.  

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