St. John Neumann Catholic Church - Gaithersburg, MD
In February of 1978, St. John Neumann became the 129 th parish of the Archdiocese of Washington. Originally a mission of St. Martin of Tours parish, liturgical services began at the Whetstone Community Center. Three months later services were transferred to the Village Mall Theater, and nine months after that they moved again to Whetstone Elementary School, where they remained for four years. At that time the rectory was located in a townhouse near the school, which held a chapel for weekday Masses, parish offices and a meeting place for parishioners.
There is a piece of artwork in our church that has historical significance. The large bas relief sculpture to the right of the altar was used as the liturgical screen behind the altar at the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II on the Washington Mall on Oct. 7, 1979. Artist Miles Stafford Rolph called his artwork “Christ among the nations”. Items from the Pope’s Mass were given to the first parishes built after the Pope’s visit, and St. John Neumann Church received the bas relief sculpture, together with the celebrant’s chair and the ambo. Groundbreaking for the current church building took place in August 1982 and was completed sixteen months later. Our founding pastor, Fr. Ralph Torsiello, celebrated the first Mass here in this church on Dec. 18, 1984. Three months later, the Most. Rev. James A. Hickey celebrated Mass with us and blessed and dedicated the new church. In 1993, the new rectory was completed, which currently holds living quarters for the priests as well as parish offices. Due to a growing community, a new wing for more offices and classrooms was added to the church building in 1999. In 2002, perpetual Eucharistic adoration began at the parish, and in 2006 our Hispanic community began with weekly Spanish Mass, confessions, and other events.
The painting of St. John Neumann in the main church was given to the parish in 2009. It was brought by a missionary priest, Fr. Joseph Uhen, from Peru, as a gift from his parish, Santísimo Sacramento, to ours. Fr.Uhen is a native of Milwaukee, but was ordained a priest for the diocese of Piura in 1993 after he felt called to serve the poor of that area when Shining Path threatened the Church.
St. John Neumann Parish has grown tremendously over the past thirty years. Becoming evident is the need to build or expand. An answer came in 2007, when the parish took an important step in acquiring the house and lot across from the Church on Warfield Road. The place came to be called the “Neumann House.” Currently, the house is used for group meetings, retreats, priest and seminarian luncheons, youth group activities and annual housing for out-of-town visitors for the March for Life. Before any more structures can be built on the property, the land has to be developed, and the debt from the purchase of the property needs to be paid off. To address these, a Capital Campaign was launched in 2013. Called “Expanding Our Home,” the campaign will raise money to help in the parish expansion. (For more details about the Campaign, please go to the Donate menu).
In the next five years, another page of St. John Neumann Parish history will be written. In 2018, the parish will celebrate its 40th anniversary. We invite you to become part of this history in the making. Share your time, talent and treasure with us. Keep us in your prayers and pray with us as we continue to ask for the intercession of our beloved patron, St.John Neumann.