The Church and the surrounding land have deep roots in Catholicism. The original tract of land contained 1,792 acres and was named “Aix La Chapelle”. It was issued to Daniel Carroll in 1749. Carroll, born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland in 1730, was the brother of John Carroll, future Archbishop of Baltimore. He served in the Continental Convention and was a signer of the Constitution of the United States.
On the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1991, at St. Mary’s Church in Barnesville, Maryland, our Archbishop, Cardinal James Hickey announced that serious exploration would be made for the possible founding of a new parish in nearby Poolesville. Father Y. David Brault arrived on Sunday, September 8, 1991, on the Feast of the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Archdiocese rented a building that included an upstairs apartment and a small chapel downstairs.
At first, the weekend Masses were to be held in the Poolesville Elementary School cafeteria, the first one being celebrated the weekend of September 15. The total weekend attendance for the three Masses was 180 and the total collection was $647.23. However, the inaugural Mass that weekend was held outdoors under the trees because the doors of the school were locked. Our Holy Day Masses were held in various churches in Poolesville through the gracious hospitality of their ministers and their congregations. With an increase in our numbers and following a census of the geographical boundaries, our mission was canonically established and named a parish on August 14, 1992, on the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother.
Much of the funds for the construction came not only from the sacrificial giving, but also from generous donations by parishioners and others to be used for the purchase and installation of accessories in memory of loved ones. Many of these are memorialized on the Tree of Life that is hanging in the gathering space of our Church.
On February 3, 2001, the weekend of the Feast of the Presentation, we celebrated the first Mass in our newly completed Church with Bishop William Lori as celebrant. Cardinal James Hickey was unable to attend, but was present on June 17 when a week of celebration culminated in the Mass of Dedication celebrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
In 2002, our founding pastor, Father David was transferred and on December 3, Father G. Paul Herbert arrived at OLP to be our parochial administrator and pastor. Upon Father Herbert’s transfer, Father Vincent J. Rigdon arrived on July 1, 2009 to carry us forward on our continuing journey.
Giving shape to a parish's faith Building will give church members a tangible presence
by Kristen Milton; Staff Writer The Gazette
December 8, 1999
As he walked across the open land at the corner of Tom Fox and Fisher avenues recently, lifting his legs high to make it through tall grasses and bracing against a cold wind, Father David Brault envisioned a bride coming out of Poolesville's first Catholic church on a spring day.
"It will be really spectacular," Brault said, gesturing with his arms. "Not ostentatious, but it will be really a statement of faith. That's what it is -- a statement of faith of the Catholic community in Poolesville."
Parishioners of Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church will hold a ceremony Sunday to bless the area where they will build a church in the coming year. Construction work such as grading, road building and the creation of a stormwater management pond will begin in January. Groundbreaking for the building itself is planned for the spring.
"It's a very important project for us," said Kevin Ballou, who has lived in Poolesville for 16 years. "I think those of us who are Catholic in Poolesville have longed for a church in our own town ... It's just time we joined the other denominations in town."
Brault and his parishioners have already waited eight years for the moment they step into their own church building. Many church members like Ballou attended the parish's "mother" church, St. Mary's Catholic Church in Barnesville, before Our Lady was established in 1992. Since then, they have attended weekend Masses at Poolesville Elementary School and daily services at a small 40-person chapel connected to the rectory.
Some found it hard to leave St. Mary's for a parish without a permanent building, said Marguerite Jeffries, who has lived in Poolesville for 22 years.
"There were a number of people who remained steadfast about wanting to attend church in a real church," said Jeffries, who has spent eight years in charge of the setup crews that turn the school into a chapel each week. "[A place] where their children would be baptized on up to being married. That's why it is so important [to have a church] and it's wonderful to be in on the ground floor of creating that ... It's going to be my little piece of heaven on earth when those doors open. I'm going to be one happy girl, and I know a lot of other people feel the same way."
That exciting moment should occur before Christmas 2000, Brault said. He expects the church will be ready to hold services by that time.
Architectural plans show the many details of the $1.5 million 8,400 square foot church. It will have an eight-foot gold-plated cross on top and a colorful three-dimensional mosaic over the doors illustrating the scriptural moment from which the parish takes its name. A statue of Mary, Jesus' mother, will be floodlighted to be visible from Tom Fox. The church's mosaic, statue and marble altars are being created in Italy, while other pieces that will eventually fill the interior will be brought from a variety of other locations near and far.
Brault has lived with the images for so long that the church is no longer just sketches on a page to him. "I know exactly what it looks like," he said confidently. "I can tell you what it smells like, what it looks like with the lights."
When complete, the church will seat 409 people, more than double the number that can be accommodated at St. Mary's. Our Lady's parishioners are drawn from the Poolesville area and currently number about 271 households. Brault said he expects about 10 percent more attendance.
The church will mean more consistency and convenience for the members. Since the parish meets in a school, parishioners are subject to the school system's snow policies. Brault said he looks forward to the day when bad weather on the weekend will no longer mean that multiple services must be held in the rectory chapel because the school is unavailable. Church members are also eagerly anticipating the new church.
"We may be starting with some bare bones at first, but it will be ours and the chairs will be in place," Jeffries said with a laugh.
Ballou, a member of the Finance Committee for the building, said he hopes to see his 16 year-old daughter married in the church someday. "The church itself, the building, will be an anchor...We can all look with pride and say 'we helped build that, it started on our watch' and we can hand it off to our children."
In years to come, two other larger buildings may be built on the 15 acres the church owns. They would be a parish hall and an auxiliary hall for holding religious classes. Brault said that is very long-term , however.
For now he is concentrating on the church, which he said will be a reflection of all the parishioners who have filled out surveys, made offerings and dedicated themselves to making the building come alive.
"The word 'my' gets more significant," Brault said, as he looked through the architectural plans in his office. "Instead of saying, 'That's where we hold Sunday Mass,' pointing at the elementary school, they will be able to say, 'That's my church.' And that's something we'll begin to hear in 2000 ... It gives [their faith] a shape. You say, 'What's that being lived by the Catholic people in Poolesville? Can you give me a shape?' And this is the shape," as Brault pointed to the drawing of the church, "simple, not garish, traditional, beautiful."
Catholic parish gets a permanent home in Poolesville
Feb. 14, 2001; Sean Sedam - Staff Writer The Gazette http://www.gazette.net/gazette_archive/2001/200107/poolesville/news/43849-1.html
As the parishioners of Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church settled into their new home on Tom Fox Avenue in Poolesville last week, the church's pastor compared the transition to that of any family settling into a new home.
"Everybody who lives in Poolesville at one point has had to rent, and there's nothing like having your first home," the Rev. Y. David Brault said.
The first Masses in the new building were held Feb. 3 and 4 -- a feast day when the Roman Catholic Church honors the parish's namesake. They marked a homecoming for a congregation that since its beginning in 1992 has celebrated Mass in the cafeteria of Poolesville Elementary School.
The new church building means no more services among folded lunch tables, no more rolling out the altar, and no more straining to hear over the deafening blower of the cafeteria's air conditioning unit.
A thoughtful look of satisfaction crossed Brault's face as he thought of how parishioners have embraced their new home. "I knew they would," he said. "I'm delighted. I can see it on their faces. They've had to put up with renting space, setting up and taking down, being locked out because of the weather, the fact that we held Mass in a cafeteria."
The 8,400-square-foot building sits on 15 acres of land that the Archdiocese of Washington has owned since 1977. The building cost $1.5 million and can comfortably seat 400.
The church fits "the ecclesiastical architecture of the town," Brault said. "One of the nice features of this building is that it blends harmoniously with not only the town, but with all the other churches in town as well. The impression is that it's been there for a while."
On Thursday, workers raised a sculpture of "The Madonna of the Streets" on the outer wall of the sanctuary, where it is visible from Tom Fox and Fisher avenues. An eight-foot gold-plated cross already sits atop the church's steeple and a colorful mosaic depicting the scriptural moment from which the church takes its name will soon hang above the entrance doors.
The church's marble altars were made in Carrara, Italy, "where Michelangelo did his work" Brault said.
"It looks like a country church on the outside, but on the inside it's just spectacular," said parishioner Karen Poza, who teaches religious education classes.
The stained glass windows make a real impression, she said.
The windows were created in the mid-1950s and had appeared in three separate buildings at La Reine High School in Suitland. When the all-girls school closed several years ago, the Bernadine Sisters of St. Francis sold the windows to the parish.
"He's a good scrounger," Poza said of Brault.
"I'm a scrounger, yes," Brault said. "I'm a pack rat. The Lord has given me a gift for being able to see something and say 'I can use that.'"
The windows, the pews and other furniture specially designed for the church created a comfortable atmosphere for parishioners. "It was lovely," Mary Ware said of her first visit. "I was impressed. The luxury of the kneelers -- when you get older like I am, you really appreciate these luxuries."
Younger parishioners, some who had never been in an actual Catholic church building, needed a little instruction from Brault. "For all these years, we either sat or stood during the celebration of the Mass," he said. "Some of the little kids thought [the kneelers] were foot rests."
Brault, who is the sole priest in a parish of about 280 families, calls Poolesville "a strong faith-based community. There's an underlying faith bedrock to the town of Poolesville, which is nice."
Other churches have allowed the parish to use their buildings for functions during the week, such as religious education classes, Masses on Holy Days (which often fall during the week when school is in session) and penance services.
"I have nothing but gratitude for the other churches of Poolesville for having accommodated us as much as they have and really welcoming us," Brault said. He looks forward to sharing the parish's new home with other Poolesville congregations when Our Lady of the Presentation hosts the town's annual ecumenical prayer service Thanksgiving weekend.
Parishioners who attended mass in the new building for the first time liked what they saw. "I think it's a fine church," Albert Garofalo said. "I think the money was well spent."
For many parishioners, who worked toward their vision of a new home, the first weekend brought a sense of joy. "It was one of the happiest days of my life," said Marguerite Jefferies, a parish council member. "There were a lot of people who worked very hard to make this happen. It gave flesh and blood to our dream."
The new church will hold its first Easter Masses in April and a first communion Mass in May. In addition, there are four weddings already scheduled.
Pastors of Our Lady of The Presentation Church
Rev. Y. David Brault Served: 1992 - 2002 (Founding Pastor)
Father Y. David Brault is a native of Quebec, Canada, who was ordained in 1977. He attended Mount St. Mary University and St. Vincent de Paul University in Florida prior to entering Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg. After his ordination, he served as a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in La Plata, Sacred Heart Parish in Bowie, and Holy Redeemer Parish in Kensington. He then served for one year as parochial administrator of the Kensington parish. In 1992, he was named as the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Presentation parish in Poolesville. He is also the former chaplain to the Fatima Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Rev. G. Paul Herbert Served: 2002 - 2009
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York. Father Herbert earned his associate’s degree in business management after which he worked as a credit manager in Buffalo. He later worked at Georgetown University Hospital for five years. In 1980, he entered a seminary in Kentucky. There, he studied pre-Theology. For his second year, he found himself in Connecticut where he finished his undergraduate work in Religious Studies. In 1983, he entered the chaplain candidate program. During his third through sixth years, he worked on his graduate studies, earning a Master’s of Divinity. In 1986, Father Herbert was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. In 1987, he was re-commissioned in the reserves and commissioned as a chaplain. He served at Bolling Air Force Base with the 11th Wing. In 1990, Cardinal Hickey asked him to pursue studies in Canon Law. Fr. Herbert spent the following two years at Catholic University of America earning his degree in Church Law. Fr. Herbert worked in various parishes throughout the archdiocese from Rockville to Greenbelt to the St. Matthew’s Cathedral downtown before he arrived in Poolesville in 2002.
Rev. Vincent J. Rigdon Served: 2009 - 2018
Father Rigdon was ordained in 1977. He attended Mount St. Mary University. He was a classmate of Father David Brault, the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Presentation. He is a graduate of Columbia University where he majored in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and has a Master’s degree in Theology from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He also has Licentiate of Canon Law (J.C.L.) which is a graduate degree in canon law of the Catholic Church and occasionally serves as a judge on its court deciding church matters. He is a member of the Society for the Propagation of Faith, which is an international association for the assistance through prayers and alms of Catholic priests and nuns. A personal highlight for him was meeting Pope John Paul II in 1988. Father Rigdon retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force reserve after serving as a chaplain for twenty-six years. Prior to becoming Pastor at Our Lady of the Presentation, he visited the parish during dedication ceremonies and at other times. He was previously at Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in southeast District of Columbia.
Rev. Justin Huber Serving Our Lady of the Presentation from 2018 - Present.
Fr Justin earned a degree in Civil Engineering from UMD in 2004. Subsequently he studied philosophy at Mount St Mary’s in Emmitsburg MD for 2 years. Then Fr Justin was then assigned to the Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome, where he studied Theology for 5 years. He was ordained in 2010 and served at Annunciation and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, and Holy Redeemer in Kensington before coming to St Rose of Lima.
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