Washington (AFP) President Joe Biden attended mass for the first time since taking office, and Sunday hunted at the church he attended when he was vice president.
Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, was chosen Holy Trinity Catholic Church In the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, a few miles from the White House. It’s where the nation’s only Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, to the liturgy.
Biden entered the front entrance, where the Black Lives Matter sign was hanging on one side and there was a sign with a quote from Pope Francis on the other side: “We cannot tolerate racism and exclusion in any way or turn a blind eye to it. All human life. “
The president said, in a brief dialogue with the journalists, that the service was “beautiful.” Biden was accompanied to the church by his son Hunter and two of his grandchildren, Finnegan and Macy.
His motorcade stopped briefly on the way back to the White House to pick him up from Call Your Mother, a popular restaurant near the church. The chief remained in his armored vehicle, while his son received the order.
White House Press Secretary Jane Sackey told reporters on Friday that Biden has not yet settled into a home church in the nation’s capital, but said she expects Biden to continue attending services regularly during his presidency.
At his home in Delaware, Biden and wife Jill were regulars at St. Joseph’s at Brandywine, Greenville. They alternated between Saturday and Sunday services depending on their travel schedules throughout the 2020 campaign. Catholic believers are required to attend Sunday services, but church teaching allows for the obligation to be fulfilled by attending mass the evening before the previous day.
Sure enough, the swearing-in Democratic Party has plenty of parish options in Washington: Four Catholic churches are within two miles (3.2 kilometers) of the White House; The Holy Trinity is a little further.
On the morning of his inauguration Wednesday, Biden and his family, along with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, attended a mass at one of those churches, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. The church hosted Kennedy’s funeral in 1963.
As the coronavirus continues to spread in the capital, Biden is bound to see small crowds wherever he goes. Currently, rules in the District of Columbia limit congregations in houses of worship to 25% capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.
Former presidents made a variety of worship choices – or none. Not far from the White House is New York Presbyterian Street, which maintains the platform where Abraham Lincoln once worshiped. Closer to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is walkable across Lafayette Square than the White House is for presidents who have practiced a historic practice of worship there at least once.
St.John’s made headlines this summer when police forcibly dispersed protesters so President Donald Trump could stand with the Bible outside its buttery-yellow front doors. But its status as “Presidents’ Church” goes back to the James Madison era, and it is accustomed to the special scrutiny that comes with hosting military leaders. Trump, who spends much Sundays at the golf club that bears his name in Northern Virginia, was not a regular attendee.
President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary became members of the United Methodist Foundry Church, just a short drive from the White House that also counted the nineteenth president, Rutherford. B. Hayes, as a member.
President Jimmy Carter, who taught in the post-presidency Sunday School, prayed dozens of times at the First Baptist Church in Washington during his time in the White House.
Associated Press writers Will Weissert and Ilana Shore contributed to this report.