From 2000 to 2013, I was the contract Catholic priest at Coast Guard Headquarters in SW, DC. The Mass was offered in the All Faiths Chapel (originally on the second floor and later moved to Room 4207 in Transpoint Building) on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:40 AM. Other services like confession were also offered. We even received permission a few years ago to conduct a baptism (see the above photo). The chapel was shared between the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic faith communities.
Retiring in 2010, Msgr. William Cuddy was the first Catholic priest ever to serve as the head chaplain for the Coast Guard. All official chaplains in the CG are Navy officers.
CGHQ Catholic Community Portal Place [Internal Access Only]
The summer of 2013 saw the relocation of Coast Guard Headquarters to the St. Elizabeth’s West Campus (former site operated as a city-run mental asylum and before that by a Catholic religious community) with a new 1.1-million-square-foot building, which will house 3,700 Coast Guard civilian and military employees. The Coast Guard headquarters is the first federal agency to be located east of the Anacostia River. Eventually the campus will also include the headquarters of other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies, and the office of the DHS secretary. The scope and prestige of the DHS campus is expected to jumpstart development of the District’s St. Elizabeth’s East Campus and to reinvigorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Ward 8’s major commercial street.
My last Mass at the old headquarters was on August 15, 2013, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother. Although the old convent chapel building is still on the new campus, the budget did not include renovations for a regular worship space. Many of us were saddened by this and we hope that a better accommodation will be made in the future. God willing, they can work out parking and commuting concerns as the current plan is to employ the local parish (Assumption) and its pastor to serve the needs of Coast Guard personnel. The reason given for the loss of a chapel was the hope to better integrate headquarters into the local community as a good neighbor.
Let us all continue to remember in prayer and at Mass the brave men and women in the Coast Guard who risk their lives daily to safeguard our country, enforce our laws and protect our citizens. God bless them all!