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The joys of Doughnut Sunday

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There are two words that make every Catholic child’s eyes light up with delight: Doughnut Sunday.  They run from church to peer into the boxes of sweet pastries, weighing the merits of powdered versus glazed, chocolate or strawberry frosting, cream or jelly-filled. They gulp down their selection with plastic cups of juice or milk. Parents chit-chat over coffee as the kids dance and run around, high on sugar and the excitement of seeing friends. 

Parishes around the diocese host after-Mass breakfast gatherings, but each church varies in how often they occur, who organizes them and where the doughnuts are purchased. 

“They’re the finest in the metro area, and as big as your head."

Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna’s dedication to Doughnut Sunday might take the cake. 

The parish provides doughnuts after five Masses on the first Sunday of the month, all except the evening Mass, said Charlie Richie, the parish’s self-proclaimed “Doughnut King.” They order anywhere from 50 to 75 dozen donuts and provide gallons of coffee, orange juice and water. The parish Men’s Club hosts the event, along with a different parish ministry every month.

“It’s quite a production,” he said. Richie has been serving doughnuts for more than 10 years, and he’s gotten the process down to a science. He’s even helped neighboring St. Mark Church in Vienna launch its own Doughnut Sunday. 

Volunteers pick up the doughnuts the night before. Tables are set up and coffee is brewed. Doughnuts are placed on the tables with the least popular in the front, and most popular, usually chocolate and Bavarian cream, on the ends. Then, they spend the whole morning passing out doughnuts, wiping down tables, taking out the trash and doing it all over again when the next Mass lets out. 

The group proudly serves doughnuts from Shoppers Food, said Richie. “They’re the finest in the metro area, and as big as your head,” he said. 

donut vertical 5St. Joseph Church in Herndon also serves Shoppers doughnuts as a fundraiser for the school’s parent teacher organization. 

Sacred Heart Church in Manassas opts for ones from Harris Teeter for their almost weekly event, serving around 27 dozen of the pastries. 

St. Rita Church in Alexandria buys Krispy Kreme doughnuts, with a few bagels and croissants thrown in for good measure. The American Heritage Girls of the parish are in charge of providing the doughnuts for two morning Masses on the first Sunday of the month. As with Our Lady of Good Counsel and Sacred Heart, all donations go toward picking up doughnuts for the next Sunday. 

Heritage Girl parents such as Leigha Doerrer help the girls manage the popular event. “It's cute to see how much they love it, to help out,” she said. The girls always vote it as one of their favorite service projects of the year.

“I like serving people their doughnuts because they’re always happy to have them, and I love giving them to little kids,” said Lilly Rutherford, a sixth-grader at St. Rita School. 

“I love putting donuts onto the plates and talking to people as they walk up,” said second-grader Lena Doerrer. “I say, ‘Thank you for coming today.’”

Pastor Father Daniel N. Gee started Doughnut Sunday at St. Rita three years ago, though he admits that he prefers bacon to doughnuts. “It’s important because people really enjoy talking to each other after Mass,” he said. 

Richie likens Doughnut Sundays to milling around the potbelly stove of a country store in yesteryear. “It’s really given us a sense of community,” he said. “Families, singles — everyone gathers there to have a doughnut and get to know one another.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016