Saint John Neumann


Founding Pastor: Rev. John A. Heenan, OSFS, was the first pastor, serving from July 1979 until 1990.
Parish Founded: 1979
Church Dedication: June 28, 1982
Additional Dates of Importance:  Larger church was dedicated on May 23, 2004.

School Information:

Saint John Neumann Catholic Preschool
Founded: 2018
Founding Pastor: Fr. Joseph Brennan OSFS

In 2018, the parish established its Saint John Neumann Catholic Preschool. The school serves as a ministry to the community, building strong connections to the faith and church community among the parish's youngest people. The school provides a loving and nurturing environment, with a staff committed to teaching Catholic values. The team also helps the students integrate those values into their daily lives. The teachers strive to help form and develop each child's God-given gifts by “providing a developmentally appropriate, Christ centered environment, where children learn through play and interaction with peers and teachers.” For more information on the school, visit

What Makes This Parish Unique?

As the former pastor, the late Fr. Tom Murphy, OSFS, used to say, “Saint John Neumann has been known as the 'happy parish,' for quite some time.” At the center of this diverse and vibrant parish beats the heart of Salesian Spirituality, guiding parishioners' devotion to God, inspiring their celebration of the sacraments, and providing the framework upon which they build their service to others. It reminds them of their duty to welcome the stranger and give hospitality to all who come to them for guidance, peace and worship. It drives them to offer many outreach programs to ensure that all of God's children receive what they need to live their lives in a dignified and secure manner. Everyone is welcome at Saint John Neumann; the parish is here for all who seek God and wish to worship as a Catholic. As laid out in the mission statement, the parishioners “commit [themselves] to celebrating and giving witness to the presence of God in [their] midst by living the Gospel to its fullest.” They ask God daily for the grace to “do all things in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales with compassion, humility, and gentleness.” They also follow the example of Saint John Neumann: serving God and others without ceasing, educating the young in the faith, and providing for the poorest among us-even to our deaths-as he did. At Saint John Neumann, parishioners know that a parish is “built of living stones” that are more beautiful than the most beautiful materials used to build the physical church. Their people, guided by God, heed the command to “Live Jesus!” daily

Parish History:

In 1979, seeing the surge of growth around Reston, the Diocese of Arlington decided to establish an additional parish in or around Reston. As the Diocese had previously had 18.1 acres of land on Lawyers Road gifted to them, Bishop Thomas Welsh chose to site the new parish south of the Dulles Access Road. He also decided that, in addition to the Catholic populace of south Reston, parts of existing parishes would make up the new parish. Saint Thomas à Becket in Reston, Saint Joseph in Herndon, and Saint Timothy in Chantilly all gave members to the new parish, which was named Saint John Neumann, honoring a member of the Redemptorist Order and the fourth bishop of Philadelphia (1852-1860), who was canonized on June 19, 1977. Bishop Welsh invited the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales to staff the parish, and on July 5, 1979, Fr. John Heenan, OSFS, became the first pastor. Fr. Heenan celebrated the first Mass on July 7, 1979, at Hunter Woods Elementary School. During the following years, the parish celebrated Masses at various locations around the Reston area, including at the Hunter Woods Center Theater and in parishioner's homes. Masses were also celebrated, especially on Holy Days, at Reston's other Catholic parish, Saint Thomas à Becket. Knowing that a permanent church was needed, on March 25, 1980, the parish council voted unanimously to approve construction. By May 12, 1980, fundraising efforts were well underway, with the groundbreaking ceremonies held on May 31, 1981, and construction finished in June 1982.

Bishop Thomas Welsh dedicated the new church building, seating 550 worshipers, on June 28, 1982. With the new church building, the parish continued growing in size and scope, adding new service and ministry groups to serve the people of Reston and beyond. By 1996, Fr. Robert A. Brown, who served as pastor from 1991 to 2005, saw that the parish would soon need to build a bigger church structure to accommodate the growing parish's worship needs. The parish petitioned the Diocese of Arlington for permission to build a larger church, and by August 1997, the design phase had begun. There were numerous barriers to overcome in the construction process, but the parish broke ground on October 6, 2002, and began construction on the new structure. Despite some more setbacks caused by record-breaking rainfall and other bad weather, construction proceeded apace, and on Palm Sunday, April 4, 2004, the parish celebrated its first Mass in the new church, which seats more than 1,100 people. On May 23, 2004, Bishop Paul Loverde dedicated the new church. After Fr. Brown's departure in 2005, Fr. Thomas E. Murphy, OSFS, served as pastor from 2005-2016. After Fr. Murphy's untimely death in 2016, Fr. Joseph T. Brennan, OSFS, has been the pastor. Today, Saint John Neumann continues growing and serving the people of Reston. It currently has more than 13,000 parishioners, a large and active faith formation program, and more than 50 ministries providing outreach to the community. Each day, parishioners “Live Jesus!” 

To learn more about St. John Neumann parish, visit