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A second COVID-19 Easter Sunday in Washington: prayers for Capitol Police, calls for vaccinations continue

A second Easter amid COVID-19 couldn’t stop parishioners from spreading the message of God in Washington on the Sunday holiday.

It was a breezy but sunny bright Sunday along the National Mall. Hundreds of families and friends gathered in groups on the grassy lawn grounds in between the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol to worship freely out in the open space.

Parishioners attended an outdoor Easter Sunday service hosted by Passion City Church of Washington, D.C. Gabriel Pietrorazio.

The District of Columbia’s Passion City Church hosted a socially distanced outdoor celebration, which began around 10:30 a.m.

Masks were supposed to be mandated at all times, according to their website, but not everyone wore them in their own groupings while sitting on their blankets, raising their hands to the sky.

Ben Stuart, a pastor of Passion City Church, preached from the stage, and reflected on the last few months in Washington. 

“Lord, we can’t stand here, sit here, in the shadow of the Capitol and not think about the tragedy that just happened a few days ago,” Stuart said. “Take a moment and pray for the family of Officer [William] Evans.” 

Stuart asked for the massing congregation to “pray comfort for his family,” but the intercessions didn’t stop there, too. 

The U.S. Capitol Police, “who’ve had a difficult few months,” were in the thoughts of parishioners as well — with Stuart asking for “God’s peace in their hearts and mercy.”

The U.S. Capitol’s shadow casts upon the National Mall where the Passion City Church Easter celebration ensued. Gabriel Pietrorazio.

Lastly, he called upon his tested faith “for healing, for peace” across the entire nation during this Easter celebration.

Meanwhile, a few blocks aways at the White House, President Joe Biden, the second Catholic Commander in Chief since John F. Kennedy, wished Americans a happy Easter Sunday holiday.

Even though the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, a long-honored tradition that started back in 1878 during the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, had been cancelled for the second year in a row, the first family still honored the Easter holiday — urging Americans to start a new tradition — vaccinations.

In a short Easter Sunday video message, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden wished everyone a Happy Easter.

Getting vaccinated — it’s an act of strength and trust, one that’s being tested.

Although the Easter holiday is officially over, the Biden family’s message on vaccination remains paramount to the cause, not just for Christians — but other faith groups ahead of future religious holidays that are on the horizon.

Last Thursday, Biden participated in a teleconference about “faith and community engagement” where he double-downed on the case for America to continue vaccinating, particularly through its religious institutions — shortly after surpassing the 100 million vaccination goal that his administration sought to accomplish within their first 100-days inside the Oval Office.

Jill and I, we’re looking forward to our Easter celebration, where we get to — get to get together with our family. And because we’ve had the great honor of being vaccinated, we may be able to get together with some of them this Easter. And — but Passover began last week. The Hindu holiday of Holi was last week. Ramadan is right around the corner,” Biden said while on the call

Currently, 165 million individual vaccine doses have been given to Americans. Eighteen percent of the entire U.S. population have been fully vaccinated, while 32-percent of all Americans received at least one dose, according to the CDC’s latest COVID-19 data tracker.

He even admitted to faith-leaders that they’re going to listen to your words more than they are me as President of the United States” when it comes to trusting the experts on vaccines — reducing vaccine hesitancy, too. 

When they’re in your sanctuaries, you can talk to them about what we have to do, what’s available, and not to be fearful — not to be fearful getting the vaccine,” Biden continued.

But most of all, Biden believed that scheduling for a dose is more than a patriotic duty” and rather “a moral duty.”

Put an end to the dark years behind us — a dark year — and do our part to spread the light in the spirit of all holidays of this spring season,” Biden ended. “I want to thank you all for what you’re doing. I look forward to being able to get back into houses of worship and visit like I have in the past and will hope to do again.