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the Rev. James M. Shea, SJ

Official Membership

3,500 households

Service Length

75 minutes

Sample Worshipper Dress

pleated khakis, lime-green golf shirt

Star Congregants

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Congregational Fervor

Holy Trinity isn’t joking when it bills its 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass as “solemn.” At a recent service, members of the congregation lazily mouthed the words to such hymns as “Fire of God, Undying Flame” as though they hadn’t heard any Good News in a while.

Food for the Soul

“What has gotten into these people?” Shea asked the congregation, as he began his homily on the events of Pentecost. The answer, of course, is the Holy Spirit. “These people from all over the world heard the word of God’s love in Christ,” said Shea, referring to those who attended the first Christian sermon as described in Acts 2. “They heard the word and were turned on by it.”

Food for the Body

Despite Shea’s promise of doughnuts, a recent coffee hour was relatively deserted; many families had made their own breakfast plans. Perhaps this was to their benefit—though delicious, the doughnuts were quartered to prevent easy consumption.

Overall Worship Power

Founded in 1794, Holy Trinity possesses a rich and varied history. The church Web site includes a section devoted to informing visitors of a few highlights, including JFK’s frequent attendance and the sanctuary’s harrowing stint as a Civil War–era surgery.

—Aaron Leitko