THE HISTORY OF NATIVITY CHURCH
In 1897, residents of the rural section of Washington, north of Florida Avenue known as Brightwood, got together and decided there should be a Catholic Church in that area of the city. Thus, in 1900, with the assistance of Cardinal Gibbons and a parcel of land donated by one of the members, the construction of the frame church began, On February 3, 1901, the first mass was celebrated in the new Church of the Nativity.
By 1924 it became apparent that there was a huge need for a parish school. During that same year, there was a fire that caused extensive damage to the church. The parishioners again banded together and successfully raised funds to repair the first church and build a new church and a school on the second floor for approximately 400 students. The school opened on September 8, 1925 and the first mass was celebrated in the new church in December of that same year. That building is now the Nativity Catholic Academy.
The parish was flourishing, and the church was too small to accommodate the growing community. In 1933, a large parcel of property on 13th Street, NW was purchased and in 1940 ground was broken on this land for the present structure. The building was completed in 1942 and the first Mass was conducted in lower church on Sunday, September 26, 1942. The cornerstone and dedication of the church took place on December 6, 1942.
This magnificent structure of Gothic architecture located on the gentle slopes of Fort Stevens and open on all sides enjoys a calm and spacious setting under spreading oak trees. Truly, the new Nativity parish "House of Prayer" remains one of the City's most beautiful structures.
During the year 2002, there were many changes at Nativity Church. In June, Msgr. Raymond East, our Pastor at that time, was reassigned to be the Executive Director of the Office of Black Catholics at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center. We were further advised by the Cardinal that Nativity parish would be staffed by the Salesians of St. John Bosco.
In 2003, we welcomed the Pastor of the Church of the Nativity, Reverend Stephen Schenck, SDB and his staff. Father Steve also serves as the Director of the Salesian community here. At his State of the Parish Address in 2004, we were introduced to the goals, and objectives for our parish. One of these goals, the conversion of the first church to a freestanding community youth center, was realized that same year when the center was opened. July 1, 2009 Reverend Steve Schenck, SDB was reassigned to Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Port Chester New York, the Reverend George Hanna, SDB became Nativity Catholic Church's new pastor.
Year 2014, Fr. Blake Evans M. Div.; became pastor of Nativity Church.