Like many other celebrations, Easter Sunday observances approached normal this year, as worshipers flooded into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
“It is absolutely wonderful to have so many people here without masks. We can see your face and we’re happy to have everyone with us today,” Monsignor Walter Rossi said.
This year is special because several religious traditions are observing holy days.
“Easter, Ramadan and Passover are all converging right now, as well as the fact that the Orthodox are celebrating Palm Sunday today,” Rossi said.
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One family traveled to the basilica from Roanoke, Virginia, to attend Easter mass.
“And while we should be careful about just being aware of what’s going on, we’re just glad that we’re able to come here,” Victoria Webb said.
“There’s always hope, you know. It’s good that we can come together to pray for everything that’s going on and hopefully we’ll be seeing some more positive things in the future,” Isabelle Webb said.
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Earlier in the day, Archbishop Wilton Gregory presided over Easter mass at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, the first in two years with loosened COVID-19 restrictions.
Gregory spoke of the hope in the hearts of congregants that the hard times will pass, and the faithful also sought comfort and understanding, “especially in Ukraine, as well as in other war-torn areas. And that people will find consolation, especially those people who suffer in so many ways - not only in other parts of the world but here in our own land, too,” Rossi said.