An Epiphany: Small Church, Hidden in Plain Sight
By December 6, 2023 0 424•
“People tell me they have passed by Epiphany Church dozens of times but didn’t know it was an active church,” Rev. Stefan Megyery (aka Father Stefan) told The Georgetowner last week.
Recently the Archdiocese of Washington announced that Megyery is now permanent parish administrator, the pastor, of Epiphany Church at 2712 Dumbarton St. NW on the east side of Georgetown.
The church is one block from Rose Park — red brick with three arched doors and twin belfries. A rectory is next door with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on its neat, gated front yard. There’s also a statue of Jesus to the right of the church steps.
It looks like a village church in a small rural community. Yet it is an historic church in Georgetown — active for 100 years. The parish was founded in 1923 when about 300 black parishioner families left Holy Trinity Catholic Church on 36th Street to form their own community because of the bigotry and segregation of the times. Two years later, the church was built, featuring a stained-glass window depicting the Epiphany — when the Three Kings encountered the Infant Jesus. That event is celebrated every Jan. 6.
“There are at least two families descended from the original founders still active with Epiphany today and who will help us celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2025,” Megyery said. “And the parish is growing – slowly, but in a surprising way. It appears that a good proportion of the daily and Sunday mass attendees are young professionals in or near their 30s. Even for morning Masses and confessionals there has never been a day when no one showed up.”
Some of that growth may be due to Epiphany’s tradition of diversity. While Masses and confessions are held every morning at 7:30 a.m. in English, on Saturdays and Sundays; the 9:30 Sunday Masses are in Korean — and in Lithuanian, once a month. There are Masses in Latin on the first Saturday of the month. Until recently, the parish comprised a large French-speaking congregation.
Megyery speaks with a soft German accent from his native Berlin. He came to Washington, D.C., to do research for his doctoral degree in history. He finished it but began thinking about becoming a priest. After a year in Germany, he was accepted at the Saint John Paul II Seminary and then Theological College, both in Washington, D.C.
“Since my ordination to the priesthood in 2019, I served for two years as parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Church in Rockville, Maryland,” Megyery said. “Because of my heritage, I also was involved with the Hungarian Catholic community in the diocese. Then in 2021, Epiphany’s pastor — Monsignor Godfrey Mosley — died unexpectedly. I was appointed to try out his position.”
“Now I look forward to building the church programs and parish in the coming years,” Megyery said. “A diverse and active Catholic church on the east side of Georgetown, especially as we celebrate our 100th anniversary.”