One of the newer additions to Queen of Apostles
Church in Alexandria is the eucharistic adoration chapel.
The chapel is 2 years old and welcomes adorers 24 hours a day
from 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday morning at 7:45. More
than 200 parishioners volunteer their time to fill the more
than 120 hours, quietly praying during their chosen hour in
reverence before the exposition of the Blessed
Parishioners take seriously Pope John Paul II's words in his
1980 letter to the bishops of the world, "On the Mystery and
Worship of the Eucharist," when he wrote, "The Church and the
world have a great need of eucharistic worship. Jesus waits
for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our
time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation
that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the
great faults and crimes of the world by our adoration never
At a desk to the left of the chapel door is a binder where
parishioners write their prayer requests. There are pleas for
world peace and more vocations, but there are personal
"Please - a better year in 2012. I need health and business
success," wrote one petitioner.
"Please pray for a woman who has an abortion scheduled on
Dec. 17," asked another.
There are dozens of these requests, a testament to the
parish's belief in the power of prayer.
"Our ministry is dedicated to providing the opportunity for
adoration to those who want to visit Our Lord in the
Eucharist in a contemplative setting," said John Abrams,
parish coordinator of the eucharistic ministry.
Father Andrew J. Heintz, parochial vicar, said the chapel "is
like a nuclear reactor. It's a powerhouse for prayer."
The powerhouse parish of Queen of Apostles was founded in
1963, during a decade of rapid growth in the Catholic
population of Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C.,
metropolitan area. The 1960s saw the founding of Holy Spirit
and St. Ambrose churches in Annandale, St. Luke in Mclean,
St. Phillip in Falls Church, St. Mark in Vienna, and St.
Timothy in Chantilly.
In Alexandria, Good Shepherd and St. Lawrence joined Queen of
Apostles as parishes in the Richmond Diocese.
The original church structure served the parish well for 30
years. The interior was renovated in 1993 under the
leadership of then-pastor Father Keith R. Ramey, including a
refurbished sanctuary featuring an archway of gilded statues
of the Twelve Apostles with a statue of Our Lady at the apex.
The traditional interior is in contrast to the modern
About nine years ago, then-pastor Father Daniel L. Mode began
planning the renovation of the vestibule. The work was
completed about two years ago under Father Thomas P. Vander
Father Heintz has been at the parish since June 2009. He
assists Farther Marcus A. Pollard, parochial administrator,
who succeeded Father Vander Woude last October.
Father Heintz, who loves working with the Hispanic community,
is the Hispanic coordinator.
"It's a big thing," said Father Heintz about the ministry. He
estimates that between 500 and 800 people attend the Spanish
vigil Mass. An upcoming Spanish marriage retreat has 20
couples already registered.
Queen of Apostles School, founded a few years after the
parish, now has 175 students. The school was staffed by the
Sisters of St. Dominic from1967 to 1970, but is now
administered by lay people. The Dominican convent at the
parish was renamed Notre Dame Hall and is now home to the
Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College.
Mark Moran has been principal of the parish school for two
"It's a wonderful community at Queen of Apostles," said
Moran. "It's a small close-knit community. I know all the
Moran said the school is proud of its Catholic tradition.
"The heart of our school is Jesus Christ," he said.
Jennifer Guarnizo has been director of religious education
There are about 216 students in the religious education
program. They meet Tuesdays and for a bilingual class
Guarnizo said that her goal is to get parents to understand
that they are the first educators.
"My challenge is to get the parents involved," she said.
There is still a presence of Catholic sisters at Queen of
Apostles. Next door to the church is the St. Gabriel Convent
of the Poor Sisters of St. Joseph. The sisters are not
officially part of the parish, but they are involved in
community activities. During the church renovations in 1993,
daily Mass was celebrated at the convent. The sisters also
operate the St. Gabriel Day Care Center.
Diane Gavin, school receptionist, has been a parishioner
since 1966 and is proud of the parish history. She refers to
all the activity that occurs at the church - the Notre Dame
Graduate School, the convent, rectory and the elementary
school - as a "complex of Catholicism."
They all come together energetically and prayerfully to
practice the Faith.
Holy Trinity in
Queen of Apostles Church
4401 Sano St.
Alexandria, Va. 22312
administrator:Fr. Marcus A. Pollard
vicars:Fr. Andrew J.
residence:Fr. Andrew Phu Vinh
Alexandria, Va. 22312
Sat.: 8 a.m., 5 p.m. vigil, 7 p.m. Spanish
Sun.: 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon.
Weekdays: 6:30 a.m., 9 a.m.
Every first Friday: 7 p.m. (Latin Novus Ordo)