Hymns of Praise

This week, we follow Michael Folmar, a seminarian for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, as he visits two of the many ethnic and cultural ministries represented within the Diocese. 

By: Michael Folmar, Guest Contributor

On July 3, I attended Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Alexandria. St. Joseph Catholic Church is founded through the Order of the Society of St. Joseph, the Josephites. The Josephites are a religious community of Catholic priests and brothers, who serve the African-American community through the proclamation of the Gospel and their personal witness. When arriving at the Church — which recently celebrated its centennial anniversary — do not let the small size trick you. Despite its stature, it is overflowing with Christ’s love.


This parish is full of parishioners ready to warmly greet and welcome you. Each month — on the first and third Sunday — the 11 a.m. Mass is filled with the sounds of their renowned Gospel choir. The amazing choir gave glory and praise to God and left all who entered the Church with an immediate sense of belonging. After Mass, I felt as if I was leaving a Church dear to my heart. Thank you to Dcn. Albert Anderson, chairman of the Black Catholic Ministry of our Diocese, and to Fr. Donald Fest, S.S.J., pastor of St. Joseph, for welcoming me while at their parish.

Michael Folmar-cameroon-st-josephAfter attending Mass in Alexandria, I made another stop to partake in a Cameroonian Mass. This Mass is only held at 2:45 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, in Vienna. During the Mass, I found the Cameroonian tradition of the priest elevating the Host and Precious Blood at their respective times during the consecration, while singing a hymn of praise to our God, to be truly edifying.

I would like to wish a final thank you to Fr. William J. Metzger, O.S.F.S., as well as to all the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, who administer this parish and George Nformi, who coordinates this Mass. Overall, this past weekend proved to be one of strikingly beautiful music for our Lord.

Michael Folmar is a seminarian for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. This fall, he will enter his third Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg. This summer, Michael is serving as an intern in the Office of Multicultural Ministries. Each week he attends a different Mass and writes about his experience at “United through Diversity: One in Christ.” 

Find the Office of Multicultural Ministries on Twitter @CDAcultures

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