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Precious Blood Church

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What’s distinctive about your parish? What is your parish’s charism? Precious Blood Church sits in the center of the town surrounded by 58 Protestant churches. We make our mark in the Christian community as a vibrant, singing parish. The Spanish-speaking community has two choirs and a charismatic praise and worship group; the English-speaking community has four choirs, including a teen group that serves once a month. For special liturgies, such as Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil, Pentecost vigil, and for the sacraments of first Eucharist and confirmation, our music director, Hannah Masson, pulls together a bilingual choir.

What’s the one unique thing visitors to your parish should do or see while there? We have been blessed with a Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes erected in the Marian year of 1954. During this year of St. Joseph, we are reviving an effort to raise funds to erect an outdoor prayer shrine dedicated to the Holy Family.

What is a new ministry that you’ve started? In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our pastor, Father Kevin B. Walsh, became aware of a number of Spanish-speaking families experiencing crises due to the loss of jobs when businesses closed. So, he started the St. Joseph Table, a parish ministry, to meet their food needs so they could pay their rent. He anticipated this would be short term, but it has blossomed to serving not only the parish community but the needs of the Culpeper community at large twice a week.

How are you supporting the faith journey of particular cultures represented in your parish? We support our multicultural parish with bilingual Masses, bilingual communal penance services, bulletins printed in two languages, scholarships for young musicians and graduating seniors, and our bilingual director of religious education. After the Pentecost vigil, we have a potluck dinner with people sharing songs from their cultural backgrounds. In past years, we have had songs from Asia and Latin America.

What’s something we should know about your clergy? Father Walsh has his licentiate in sacred theology with a concentration in biblical theology from Rome. He is multilingual (Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese), loves history and has traveled extensively around the world. We are privileged and blessed to have all of that experience wrapped into homilies every week. Our two deacons, Ramón Tirado and Michael Watts, are very active in our parish and support the pastor every weekend. They schedule themselves for two Masses each weekend, assist with the pre-baptismal classes, wedding preparation, Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and sacramental celebrations. 

Is there a standout or longtime staff member or volunteer you’d like to tell us about? Bobby Terry was instrumental with starting the parish school on the church property in 1990. She was principal of the school as it expanded to include middle school and preschool. She is still involved as a substitute teacher at the larger school location that now offers preschool, and kindergarten through eighth grade. She is involved in the music ministry as a cantor, and the St. Joseph’s Table ministry twice a week. On top of these activities, she provides the altar society with flower arrangements and helps with decorating throughout the year. 

Would you like to share anything else about your parish? Though we are a bit of a drive from Northern Virginia, it is well worth the time to visit, not only because of our friendly welcome, but also because of our vibrant faith life. Many people attend daily Mass, and a good number stay to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together, and we have Eucharistic adoration all day on Thursdays. 

Quick Facts:

Precious Blood Church
114 E. Edmondson St.
Culpeper
540/827-4400

Pastor: Fr. Kevin B. Walsh
DRE: Kelly Wilton
Youth Ministry Coordinator: Kelly Bennett

Mass Schedule:
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m.
Saturday: 5 p.m. (vigil)
Sunday: 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. (Spanish)

Website: www.pbcconline.com

School: Epiphany Catholic School
1211 E. Grandview Ave.
Culpeper
540/825-9017
epiphanycatholicschool.org

Preschool, K-eighth grade
Principal: Austin Poole

Social media: Facebook @PreciousBloodCC

Year established: 1946

Total parishioners: More than 5,000.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021