Lessons and Carols

Since 2018, the Father McKenna Center has been hosting Lessons and Carols. As a tradition, its popularity dates back to 1918 when it was introduced to Kings Chapel Cambridge UK on Christmas Eve to offer solace to people who were distressed, exhausted, injured and, in many cases, bereaved at the end of the First World War. It consists of nine readings (the lessons) and nine carols.

2021 Lessons and Carols

Please join us on Thursday, December 9th at 7 pm for our 4th Annual Lessons & Carols. We will fill St. Aloysius Church (900 North Capitol, NW) with prayer and song as we enter the Advent season and prepare for Christmas.

Lessons and Carols 2021

Why is this evening so special? And why did we design it this way?

We started Lessons and Carols a few years ago, as a celebration that brought together our community and our philosophy.

When we look at men experiencing homelessness, we often see their homelessness first. Even when we discipline ourselves to see the man first, we see the man as he is now. We see the lack. We see the things he doesn’t have, the things he can’t do. And we often disregard the skills, talents, history, and culture that he carries within him.

Many of us grew up singing. Most of us grew up singing around the holidays. Many of our clients – our guests – are African American men who grew up in the church or in families where singing was a core part of emotional and faith-filled expression. We wanted to bring this into the Center, to make it part of the contemporary lived experience that honors a man’s culture, heritage, history, and self, and that allows his creativity and expression to be showcased to others.

We will welcome The Least of These Gospel Choir of Holy Redeemer Parish, Washington DC to lead us in carols and the Chamber Choir from Gonzaga College High School will also provide music for the evening.

In the best interest of our community, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for entry. Face masks must be worn at all times in the church.

For more information contact Lauren Barry at or call 202-842-1112.

Lessons and Carols 2020

live streamed from the St. Aloysius Church

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2018-2020