Our Lady of Hope


Founding Pastor: Rev. William Saunders
Parish Founded: 2000
Church Dedication: 2006

School Information:

Our Lady of Hope Catholic School
Founded: September 6, 2005
Founding Pastor:  Fr. William Saunders

On September 6, 2005, Our Lady of Catholic School opened, welcoming 158 children in kindergarten through seventh grade. Mr. Joseph Orandello, the school's founding principal, had taken charge in January 2005 to begin preparing for the school year. Our Lady of Hope Catholic School was intended as a place of spiritual and academic excellence, and to ensure that it would be such a school, a faith-filled and dedicated staff was hired.

In 2007, Mrs. Mary Beth Pittman was hired as school principal. Over the course of 14 years at OLOH, she made many wonderful contributions to the school community. In April 2021, Mrs. Pittman announced that she would be retiring as the principal of Our Lady of Hope School at the end of June 2021.

In July 2020, Fr. Anthony Killian was installed as pastor at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church. He and the parochial vicar, Fr. Jordan Willard, visit the school regularly and continue to promote the school's mission and vision.

On July 1, 2021, Mrs. Jeanne Canavan joined the Our Lady of Hope School community as school principal. Mrs. Canavan has been in Catholic education for over 20 years, as a middle school teacher and administrator as well as a grade school administrator, working with students ages 4-14. She has a master's in education and an additional one in Catholic school leadership from Marymount University.

What Makes This Parish Unique?

The people of the parish contributed to the building a of a beautiful church and school.

Parish History:

In the year 2000, Bishop Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, established a new parish, after having just established two parishes in 1999: Saint Veronica near Dulles Airport and Saint Matthew in Spotsylvania. This brought the total number of diocesan parishes to 66.

On March 29, 2000, Fr. William Saunders, who at the time was pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish in Alexandria, was tapped by Bishop Loverde to be the founding pastor of a new parish to be located in Potomac Falls, Virginia: Our Lady of Hope. Like the apostles, Father Saunders had to start from scratch. The first step was finding a rectory. With the help of Msgr. James W. McMurtrie, pastor of nearby Saint Theresa Parish in Ashburn, a house was found rather quickly. An opportunity arose with a foreclosure property, and because the real estate market is so ripe in the Potomac Falls area, Father Saunders acted quickly to buy the house, even though it needed many major repairs. With the help of some contractors and other volunteers, the rectory and parish offices were made ready.

Msgr. McMurtrie also put Father Saunders in contact with the principal of Potomac Falls High School, who agreed to let the parish use the auditorium for Mass and classrooms for religious education. Father Saunders spoke at all Masses at nearby Christ the Redeemer Parish in Sterling on the weekend prior to the beginning of the new parish, and 300 families registered even before the first Mass was celebrated. The parish of Our Lady of Hope held its first Mass on August 6, 2000, at Potomac Falls High School. Father Saunders was officially installed as pastor by Msgr. James W. McMurtrie on behalf of Bishop Loverde.

On Saturday, October 25, 2003, Bishop Paul Loverde, joined by Father Saunders and Deacon Emley, officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church and school to be located at the corner of Cascades Parkway and Algonkian Parkway in Potomac Falls. Attended by more than 300 members of the parish, this marked the next phase of the parish's existence.

On Tuesday, January 17, 2006, the parish's patronal feast day, Bishop Loverde, joined by Fr. Saunders, parochial vicar Fr. Bryan Belli, Deacon Emley, and priests from around the Diocese, consecrated the altar and dedicated the new church of Our Lady of Hope.

To learn more about Our Lady of Hope, please visit: https://ourladyofhope.net/