St. Augustine Catholic Church
U Street Corridor

Pastor: The Rev. Patrick A. Smith

Attendance: About 250

Service Length: About 75 minutes

Sample Worshipper Dress: Blue head wrap, leopard-print fur coat

Weeping Toddlers: 2

Congregational Fervor

The devotion of any Catholic congregation can be judged by how many people actually stick around after communion. By this measure, St. Augustine’s—the “Mother Church of Black Catholics in the Nation’s Capital”—is impressively pious. At a recent 10 a.m. Mass, few, if any, worshippers took the body of Christ and ran.

Food for the Soul

With pledge week looming, Smith used his homily as an opportunity to stump for cash to fund church programs. At first, he appealed to his congregation’s altruistic spirit via anecdotes and scripture, but, in the end, he laid the point down in simple language: “We are the mother church,” said Smith. “Let us show our brothers and sisters what mother does. She cares. She does not kick her children to the curb.”

Food for the Body

No food or drink was made available during a recent 10 a.m. service.

Overall Worship Power

No respectable preacher could pass up a pigskin metaphor on Super Bowl Sunday, and Smith didn’t drop the ball. In St. Augustine’s weekly newsletter, Smith asked worshippers to “go deep” for a Hail Mary from God. “It’s easy to play it safe in the game of life—even spiritual life,” writes Smith. But if you make a run for the divine end zone, “you will find yourself playing with a quarterback who never misses his mark and a member of the team that is guaranteed to win!