Visit no. 2: Queen of the Apostles

Visit no. 2: Queen of the Apostles

We anxiously anticipated our next Mary-named church visit, with this week’s selection of Queen of the Apostles with hopes to see Father Berghout. Although he was not there, we had the special honor of attending Mass and afterwards speaking with Father Alex, who welcomed us enthusiastically.

Visit date: Saturday, July 8, 2023

Mass: 8:00 am Saturday

Address: 4401 Sano Street, Alexandria, VA 22312

Website: Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church

Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time, Lectionary: 382:

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”


by Michael

Terry selected our next Mary Jubilee Celebration church visit, Queen of the Apostles in Alexandria. If you’re familiar with Northern Virginia, you’ll know that “Alexandria” is not always Alexandria — more Fairfax than Old Town Alexandria, where we visited last week at the Basilica of Mary.

Coming off that wondrous experience last week in Old Town, expectations weren’t raised for our next visit. I was excited, though, to learn that Father Paul Berghout is the Parochial Vicar — Father Berghout oversaw my annulment case, which qualified me for “Free Status of Groom” so that I could marry Terry in our convalidation ceremony this past Feat Day of Saint Joseph (March 20). So it was a special day for us, to go to Father Berghout’s parish.

Driving there, one heads down suburban lane that opens up to a beautiful church and campus — steeple, flowing lawn, and a remarkable grotto depicting not just the cross but a fuller scene of Calvary with our Crucified Lord with Our Lady and the Apostle John looking on mournfully.

We entered the Church , walking down the angling line of pews that converge at the alter (I wondered who gets to sit right at the apex of the triangle!). As usual, when one arrives to Church early, the pews surprisingly fill by the time Father processes in.

Presided by Father Alex, who presented Mass lovingly and firmly, and whose homily was indeed needed when trying to figure out bridegrooms and wineskins — his explanation was perfectly clear, and his application of it to our own lives resolute.

We did our best to follow the others at the Eucharist, but Terry and I both got a touch lost after Communion, me cutting off a poor yet patient soul who smiled gently to me as I turned the wrong way to return to our pew. After Mass, yet still before the alter, Father Alex launched us into a hearty “Archangel Michael” prayer, which we treasure. He remained there throughout, which amazed us, until we realized why — this is, after all, a Marian-named Church, Queen of the Apostles — he launched us into a beautifully sung rendition of Salve Regina. You must visit this church if only for the glorious and hearty voices who sang it for us at the close of mass.

Afterwards, we wandered around a bit, Terry to contemplate before the Calvary statues, and me to the look for the office in case. Father Berghout was to be found. As Terry told me, the office was closed, but I did discover another lovely and rather touching aspect to this church: at the office is Gift Shop. Really, why don’t all churches have one? Truly wonderful that the parish considers the occasional purchase, the available rosary, Bible, or medallion, of such value beyond, I imagine, any profit, but to care and fulfill a simple wish or need with a little attention. I do plan on visiting that gift shop, if only to thank the Parish for maintaining it.

I circled back and decided to go back into the church to see what was going on, as a number of parishioners knelt in line before an enclosed chapel, patiently and prayerfully. They had departed already, but Father Alex was there, speaking in Spanish with an earnest woman. He was caring and patient, and also cognizant of my attention, as I thought to ask him about Father Berghout.

Father Alex was thrilled to learn about our Marian pilgrimage, and thanked us for joining him there. He showed me the main statue of Mary they keep in the lobby for devotion, and explained that it had been in the church but became difficult to manage, so they moved it to the lobby. I asked about Father Berghout, and Father Alex explained that, actually, Father Berghout was supposed to offer the 8am Mass this day, but they had both been up late at a wedding, so Father Alex invoked age and told Father Berghout to sleep in!

He asked about our home parish, and he was happy to hear the name of Father Dansereau, who, I told him, had married Terry and me at our convalidation ceremony, as well as to have led me through RCIA.

Our visit to Queen of the Apostles was a perfectly unexpected delight, and we encourage you to visit, as we will visit again, ourselves.

– Michael

Some notes:

A statue of the “Queen of the Apostles” is at the center above the alter, guided to Her apex by the twelve apostles — can you name the last one? (Yes, Barnabus). Great fun to look them over and consider each. Terry and I both noted that Simon the Zealot stood above an arched door — we both liked that implication.

Gallery from our visit


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