Most of the two dozen St. Patrick’s churches that I’ve visited and detailed in a special section of this blog date from the late 19th or early 20th century, though several of the U.S. parishes predate their present building. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin dates from the mid-13th century.
In mid-June, Dioceses of Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge dedicated St. Patrick’s Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, 60 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The new church abuts the Chancellorsville Battlefield, where in 1863 Union military chaplain Father William Corby celebrated Mass for soldiers of the Irish Brigade led by Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Meagher.
This St. Patrick’s parish was established in 1983, and the original church building (at left in top image) opened two years later. Now, with nearly 5,000 parishioners and 200 students, “the area’s growing Catholic population necessitated the construction project,” the Arlington Catholic Herald reported. In a sign of the times for the 21st century, the parish live-streamed the bishop’s dedication Mass for those unable to attend in person.
With one statue of St. Patrick outside, another inside, and the saint’s image one one of the stained glass windows, there’s no doubt about the patron of this church. Here’s a video tour by the pastor:
Unusual indeed to see a St Patrick’s being dedicated in North America.
At one time there were four St Patrick’s in the UP of Michigan to serve the Irish miners across the region. Now there are none and the last one closed in the 1970s.