Friar Jordan Turano. Courtesy of St. Dominic Catholic Church

By Georgine Wallace 

Established in 1852, the parish of St. Dominic has graced its current location at 630 E Street SW since its opening on June 13, 1875. The church exterior resembled the present day, however, the original interior was destroyed by a fire in March 1885. Both Protestant and Catholic residents raised funds to create a new interior, exemplifying interfaith community spirit. 

In 1905, the Dominican House of Studies, the Seminary for the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern region) moved to Washington. The United States is broken into four Provinces in the Dominican Order: Eastern, Western, Central and Southern. New priests started to be ordained at the seminary on an annual basis in 1906. 

Today, St. Dominic is led by Friar Jordan Turano. Father Turano arrived at St. Dominic in June 2020. He leads a team of 29 Dominican Friars, including eight Deacons scheduled for graduation at the end of May 2022. All live in the priory adjacent to the Church. Friar Turano and his Associate Pastor, Bede Shipps, hear confessions and celebrate Mass, and other priests living in the priory help when available. 

In addition to being an education center, the church also works quietly to help the community. The congregation holds a monthly food drive, and the items are incorporated into the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry. Another fund gives rent or utility assistance to those in need in the Washington area. Working in conjunction with Catholic Charities, they helped dozens of residents during the pandemic. The church also holds Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings every weekday. Over the holidays, they sponsor a coat drive with the Knights of Columbus and a Giving Tree in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police Department’s First District. 

The church is looking ahead to special events in the coming months, including a Veteran’s Day Mass on November 11, 2022 where every branch of the military will be celebrated, with a short reception to follow. In early 2023, they hope to hold a recital celebrating the full restoration of their historic Roosevelt organ. The church holds Mass Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., Saturday at 9:00 a.m., and Sunday at 8:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Confessions are held Monday through Friday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For information on their community service or to contribute, visit http://www.stdominicchurch.org/.

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