The Heritage Room is another name for the parish hall. Opened in 1992, the Heritage Room is a modern facility situated in a rich historical and rural setting. The Heritage Room architecturally complements the adjacent century-old Holy Family Church, a state historical landmark. Up to 300 guests can enjoy the wooded country setting close to the exclusive Woodmore community country club.
The hall is generally reserved for parish functions, receptions for Catholic marriages and funeral repasts (must be the same day).
RENTAL DOCUMENTS (Contact about Pricing):
Parish Facility Contract (pdf)
Assisted by his wife Marsha, our Hall Manager is Jim Hansen. He can also be emailed at email@example.com. When the facility is used, he and his wife are often on the premises. Marsha also often functions as our bartender. They are a gracious couple and Marsha is largely responsible for our social outreach. The hall will be filled with food and gifts for the poor at Thanksgiving and Christmas time. They safeguard the facility and assist patrons.
- Conveniently located in Mitchellville, MD next to Holy Family Catholic Church.
- Victorian country atmosphere on 12 rural acres.
- Located 2 miles from Interstate 95/495 (Capital Beltway).
- Ample free parking.
Outside caterers are permitted, pending proper certification.
- One large banquet room can hold up to 300 guests.
- Dance floor area.
- Round tables seat 8-10 people.
- Handicapped accessible facilities.
- Bar Services.
Restrictions to Hall Availability
While our parish hall was long available for both parish-use and outside rentals, due to the growing litigious environment and opposition to the Church, we were compelled to terminate most non-parish rentals. This has seriously reduced a source for raising parish funds. What happened? The Archdiocese of Washington changed its Facility Usage Policy. The prior policy distinguished between events that were parish sponsored and those that were not. Except for unusual or high-risk activities, events that were not parish-sponsored were allowed as long as their hosts carried sufficient insurance and signed a standard agreement with the Archdiocese. In the policy revision, however, non-parish groups cannot use parish or school facilities for purposes that are not educational, charitable, or religious in nature. This limitation reflects the legal distinction between public halls and private, tax-exempt property like the parishes. It protects the parishes’ tax exempt status, which is based on using its space for the recognized purposes.
Hall Use for Parish-Sponsored Events
The revised definition of parish-sponsored events is as follows:
- The event is open to all members of the parish or only to members of the parish;
- All monies or proceeds flow through parish accounts;
- It is under the direct supervision of the pastor/administrator;
- The purpose is to facilitate learning, raise revenue for the parish, or provide a social service on behalf of the parish; and
- The leader of the event or group is a parish volunteer or employee.
The current definition includes most small group parishioners’ events as “parish-sponsored.” Questions about possible exceptions must be directed to the Chancery. Parishioners may rent facilities for events such as wedding receptions, baptismal receptions, anniversaries, a Quinceañera, birthday party, etc., even though they are not “parish events,” per se. They are events for parishioners, which is not a problem.
Limited Hall Use for Non-Parish Sponsored Events
With the policy revision, non-parish-sponsored events are allowable only if the nature of the event is consistent with the teachings and mission of the Church. If the substance of a non-parish-sponsored event is religious, educational, or charitable in nature, it is permissible if it will not be raising money or generating income for any other person or group other than the parish. If it will be raising money for a person or group other than the parish, it may be permissible, pending review in the Chancery (General Counsel). However, the pastor will not have discretion about such questions. An event is prohibited if a renting party is not a parishioner or a parish group and they seek to use the facilities for purposes which are not educational, religious, or charitable in nature. This involves the facilities being used as a public hall, and is illegal.
Instances of such usage may include the activities of organizations like the Knights of Columbus or the Knights of St. John and their auxiliaries. Prince George’s Community Resources current functions as a parish ministry to teenagers and older adults with special needs but often invites others to our hall for activities and sharing information.
Hall Use Must be Consistent with Archdiocesan Fundraising Policy
The hall may be used for parish fundraising however such efforts must be distinguished from the fundraising rendered by commercial, for-profit enterprises. Our current policies deal with all fundraising activities that are parish-sponsored and/or on parish property. The fundraising policy addresses the nature of a proposed fundraising initiative, and identifies three key factors to consider: subject matter (religious or educational); frequency (should not compete with commercial enterprises); and purchase and resale (to determine whether income tax may apply). Guidelines are given for the proper promotion of fundraising activities. For instance, a fundraising activity has to be promoted as such, to distinguish the parish from a business which generates income. Also, the promotion of the activity should be as specific as possible regarding the identity of the mission or program it will benefit in order to keep the monies raised exempt from income tax.