The Parish Is Established: 1910-1920
In 1910, William Howard Taft was in the White House, with the Sixteenth Amendment (allowing income taxes on individuals), which he proposed and supported, working its way through the process of ratification. The pope, Pius X (1903-1914), was noted for encouraging the reception of Communion by children upon attaining the age of reason (usually considered around seven), restoring Gregorian Chant to the liturgy, and a campaign against "modernism," a theological trend that attempted to include the thinking of recent philosophers such as Immanuel Kant into theology. Washington DC was part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, headed at that time by James Cardinal Gibbons, one of the most important and influential figures in the history of the American Church. Those Catholics living in Chevy Chase, MD and the Chevy Chase neighborhood of the district attended St. Ann's Parish at Tenley Circle.
Cardinal Gibbons, asks Father Thomas Gibbons Smyth, pastor of St. Ann's Parish, Tenley Circle, to form a mission parish in nearby Chevy Chase.
April 3, 1910
Mass celebrated for the first time in the Chevy Chase Library in the Chevy Chase mission of St. Ann's Parish, Tenley Circle.
July 2, 1911
First parish church completed and dedicated by Archbishop Diomede Falconio, O.F.M., Apostolic Delegate to the United States. This date marks the formal beginning of Blessed Sacrament Parish. Smyth continues as pastor of both St. Ann's and Blessed Sacrament.
Seven baptisms and one marriage recorded in that first year.
Service organizations such as the Sanctuary Guild, Sodality, Holy Name Society and the St. Vincent DePaul Society, and the parish choir were formed in the earliest days of the parish.
August 20, 1914
Pope Pius X dies. On September 3, the conclave elected Cardinal Giacomo della Chiesa, a long-time papal diplomat and Archbishop of Bologna, who took the name Pope Benedict XV.
April 6, 1917
The United States enters World War I, bringing a surge in population to the capital city and its suburbs including Chevy Chase and Blessed Sacrament parish.
Father Smyth and parishioners recognize the need to separate from St. Ann's as both parishes are growing too large for one pastor. They take the first steps: raising the funds to build a rectory.
April 24, 1920
Father Smyth takes up residence in a newly completed rectory at Blessed Sacrament, becoming pastor of Blessed Sacrament only, marking the formal separation of Blessed Sacrament from St. Ann's.