February 2019: Jigs & Reels

December 2018: Inaugural Lessons & Carols

Lessons and Carols

On the evening of December 20th, 2018 the great church of St. Aloysius rang with the sounds and songs of Lessons & Carols.   This service of nine readings and nine carols is a tradition that began in England in 1918 to celebrate Christmas.  Last Thursday the celebration was led by a choir of men from the Day Program at The Father McKenna Center who are struggling with or have conquered homelessness.  The McKenna Center Singers have been practicing for 10 weeks, under the direction of Rev. Phil Ganir, SJ.   They were joined by The Least of These Gospel Choir from Holy Redeemer Church.

Over one hundred people enjoyed the prayerful service, and most of them plan to attend next year.  The greatest measure of success, however, is the pride that The McKenna Center Singers felt.  “I never knew that I could sing in front of people like that,” said Eric S.  “It was great to be part of the group.”





Music included traditional carols such as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Once in Royal David’s City,” as well as the traditional spiritual “Yield Not to Temptation” and the more recent “I Will Get There.”  The Least of These Gospel Choir shared a particularly powerful rendition of “Mary Did You Know?”



After the service, Conductor Rev. Phil Ganir, SJ from the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Jesuit Community said, “My deepest consolation was seeing how the McKenna men made this century-old prayer service their own.  Hearing them sing their faith made my Christmas extra special.”

We thank all of our readers:

Mr. Mark Emery, Gonzaga College High School

Mrs. Cathy Fox, Gonzaga Mothers Club

Rev. Mr. Willis Daniels, Deacon, Holy Redeemer Parish

Ms. Analise Brower, Washington Jesuit Academy

Rev. Ron Anton, SJ, Georgetown Jesuit Community

Sr. Lisa Buscher, RSCJ, Contemplative Leaders in Action

Mrs. Tania Chomiak-Salvi, Holy Trinity Parish

Mr. Patrick Gaul, Georgetown Preparatory School – class of 2020

Mr. Gerry Nolan, The Father McKenna Center Board of Directors


Please join us on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 for the Second Annual Lessons & Carols!

September 2018: McKenna Walk

Walk for McKenna Cancelled!

On Tuesday, the DC Government declared a State of Emergency in preparation for the arrive of Hurricane Florence.


Following that advice, on Tuesday, the Father McKenna Center leadership determined to cancel the Walk!


We are saddened that we won’t gather with our friends this Saturday!


Refund Policy:            Any pre-registered participant that wants a refund may contact Ned Hogan (nhogan@fathermckennacenter.org – link).


We want to thank all who agreed to sponsor the Walk this year!


Presenting Sponsors:                           Lisa and Jeff Hayden


Gold Sponsors:                                   United Bank


Silver Sponsors:                                  Alice and Kevin Curtin Family

The William Frost Family

H&B Products

Maureen and Pat McCarty Family

The Ryner Family


Bronze Sponsors:        Advanced Project Management                     Carol and Joe Corgan

Donna, Bill and JP Felmlee                            Mary and Mark Forde

Gary Grandchamp and Pat Barrett                 Lauren and John Malone

Kate McAuliffe and Family                           Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Kate and Jerry O’Neill                                                Stoiber & Associates, Architects

Wegner, CPA’s                                               Your Part-Time Controller


We hope you can join us next year, for the 3rd Annual Walk for McKenna!


Lost Boys

June 2018: Journey to Restoration

On Thursday, June 28, 2018 the Father McKenna Center hosted the play Journey to Restoration: The Father McKenna Center Way at 7:00 pm in The Father McKenna Center.

“The stories were so moving. I have a new appreciation of the challenges that men who are homeless face, and the important work that The Father McKenna Center does to guide and support these men along their journey to restoring their lives,” commented Lauren Malone after the staging of “Journey to Restoration: The Father McKenna Center Way.”



On June 28, 2018 Cortez McDaniel, the Director of Services at the Center, and four men from the program told their stories of reclaiming their lives through the intervention of the Father McKenna Center. Calvin Guy, Danny Dotson, Andrew Gavins and Brian Graham each told how he had made poor choices and ended up homeless, and that they were not sure how he could reclaim their life. Each recounted that the Father McKenna Center, and the companionship of Cortez, and others on the Father McKenna Center team, had made all the difference in their lives.  Heartfelt songs and spirituals sung by the cast reinforced their stories.

The June performance was a reprise of the play, “Lost Boys,” that was staged in 2017. This about seventy people were in attendance, and they were all amazed at the stories and the power of the retelling those stories. Kim Cox, the President of the Center, during her introduction said, “The process has been illustrative of the lives of the men we serve. Several members of the cast dropped out over the last month, and the current cast only coalesced two weeks ago! But I can tell you that the experience of telling their stories has been cathartic for each of these men.”

The Center plans to shorten the production to a 20-minute presentation that could be staged for a parish or other groups to illustrate the struggles of those who are temporarily homeless and to demonstrate the impact of The Father McKenna Center on those who choose to make changes in their lives.  Please contact Kim Cox if you would like to schedule a performance.


December 2018 | Inaugural Lessons and Carols

Announcing the Inaugural

Lessons and Carols

For the Father McKenna Center, Washington DC

The Father McKenna Center is proud to present its Inaugural service of LESSONS AND CAROLS. Led by a choir of men from our Day Program, this celebration will be a memorable evening of Advent Prayer & Song.

The Public is Invited!

What: LESSONS AND CAROLS: An Evening of Advent Prayer & Song
Presented by The Father McKenna Center and the
Jesuit Community of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

When: Thursday, December 20, 2018 | 7:00 p.m. (Approx. 1 hour)
Followed by a cookies and punch reception

Where: St. Aloysius Church
900 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-1425
Parking available in the Gonzaga High School parking structure.
(Enter from 1st and I Streets NW.)

Cost: Free
Free-will donations to support the work of The Father McKenna Center will be graciously accepted.

Project Description:
A century ago, 34-year-old Eric Milner-White, the newly appointed dean of King’s Chapel (Cambridge, England), developed a creative way for residents from Cambridge University and its local city to celebrate Christmas beyond the standard liturgy of the Church of England. By weaving scripture with song and drawing upon a variety of participants, this service not only became a way for people to begin healing from the recent devastation of World War I, but also, through annual BBC broadcasts, developed into a tradition which many communities adapted for their own Advent and Christmas celebrations.

This year, one hundred years later, The Father McKenna Center of Washington DC proudly presents its service of LESSONS AND CAROLS which hopes to bring together, in worship and celebration, the men of The Father McKenna Center who struggle with homelessness, the staff who work on their behalf, and the community who supports them.

Contacts: Dr. Kim Cox, President

Mr. Cortez McDaniel, Director of Services
Fr. Phillip Ganir, S.J., Lessons and Carols Co-Producer

Followed by a cookies and punch reception

Where: St. Aloysius Church
19 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20001-1425
Parking available in the Gonzaga High School parking structure.
(Enter from 1st and I Sts NW.)

Cost: Free
(With an option for a free-will donation for the McKenna Center)
(The McKenna Center is an independent 501(c)3 organization.)

Contacts: Dr. Kim Cox, President
Mr. Cortez McDaniel, Director of Services
Fr. Phillip Ganir, S.J., Lessons and Carols Co-Producer