'Plenty of work to do'

First slide

When asked what makes St. Timothy Parish in Chantilly special, Father Gerald Weymes, pastor, said without hesitation, "The people. The people are fantastic."
And there are a lot of people who worship at St. Timothy.
With more than 15,000 parishioners, it's the third largest parish in the Arlington Diocese, just behind All Saints in Manassas and Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge.
The parish has roots back to 1923 as St. Timothy Church in Centreville, a mission of St. Mary of Sorrows Parish in Fairfax.
After World War II, the Centerville church became a mission of All Saints.
In the 1960s, the burgeoning Catholic population of Northern Virginia needed places to worship. Little St. Timothy Church in Centreville was unable to accommodate all the Catholics. Parishioners looked for suitable worship space in the area, finally settling on rooms in the nearby Chantilly firehouse.
Soon the firehouse was not enough, and in 1968 the church leased space in the Greenbrier East Elementary School.
St. Timothy parishioners were now split between services at churches in Centreville and Chantilly.
In 1969, Richmond Bishop John J. Russell established St. Timothy as a parish and named Father Robert E. Nudd as the first pastor.
Land was purchased on Poplar Tree Road, but it took three years of fundraising before ground could be broken for construction.
In 1975, Arlington Bishop Thomas J. Welsh dedicated the new St. Timothy Church.
The church seated 750 people, but eventually the continuing population boom of the 1970s and '80s required another expansion, and in 1993 a capital campaign was launched to raise $4 million. In 1996, the renovated church - now seating 1,400 people - plus a new school cafeteria, gym and expanded classroom space were opened.
In addition to Father Weymes, who's been pastor for 11 years, St. Timothy is served by two parochial vicars, Fathers William M. Aitcheson and Stephen J. Schultz. Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father Anthony J. Pinizzotto is in residence. The parish has two deacons, David E. Conroy Sr., and newly ordained James C. Hepler, but Father Weymes said he could use more.
"There's plenty of work to do," he said. "We're one of the few parishes that have three Masses a day."
They perform 40 weddings a year, and "as many funerals as the Lord sends us," said Father Weymes.
The parish community is busy serving the needs of the community. The parish St. Vincent de Paul Society operates a food pantry that distributes food to more than 150 community members each month.
There's an active pro-life group that sent two buses to this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C., joining three buses from St. Timothy School.
The parish salutes its volunteers at an annual dinner attended by more than 220 people.
Kelly Jerome is the youth minister who oversees more than 50 active members.
They meet weekly on Sunday evenings, with dinner and time to interact with peers, to pray and hear guest speakers.
Youths also participate in 40 Days for Life and the diocesan youth RALLY. Twenty students and 10 adults went to World Youth day in Spain last year.
Maria Ho has been the director of religious education for 10 years. Ho was born in Hong Kong to a Buddhist mother. She went to Catholic schools all her life, and when she was 13 years old, her mother let her convert to Catholicism. Her mother converted a year later.
Ho oversees the religious education of about 1,056 students and manages more than 160 volunteer teachers.
"I love this parish," said Ho. "I'm grateful to God that He allows me to work here."
St. Timothy School opened in1981 with Marilyn S. Valatka as the first principal. The school provides for the spiritual, academic, social and emotional growth of the students. In 2000, St. Timothy was named a Blue Ribbon School by the Department of Education.
Patricia Kobyra, who started as a teacher in 1995, has been principal for six years.
"I love this community," said Kobyra.
Like many people from the parish and the school, to Kobyra, working at St. Timothy is much more than simply work. When she interviewed for a teaching job there in 1995 and was given a tour of the campus she said, "I've come home."

Next week's profile
St. John in Leesburg

Quick Facts
St. Timothy Church
13807 Poplar Tree Rd.
Chantilly, Va. 20151
703/378-7461

Pastor: Fr. Gerald Weymes
Parochial vicars: Frs. William M. Aitcheson, Stephen J. Schultz
In residence: Fr. Anthony J. Pinizzotto, D.S.F.S.
Deacon: David E. Conroy Sr., James C. Hepler
DRE: Maria Ho

School:
13809 Poplar Tree Rd.
Chantilly, Va. 20151
703/378-6932
Principal: Patricia Kobyra
Students: 559

Mass schedule:
Sat.: 9 a.m., 5:30 p.m. vigil
Sun.: 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
Weekdays: 6:15 a.m., 9 a.m., noon

Parishioners: 15,198

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2012