Archbishop of Washington remarks on Holy Week changes from last year

Catholics across the region are celebrating Holy Week as Easter Sunday approaches. And the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in D.C. is remarking on what a year it has been for the faithful.

“As we entered into Holy Week one year ago, we were at the beginning of what became a long journey through a pandemic that has radically changed the landscape of everyday life,” Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory said in a video message.

He remarked on the changes between this year and last, as many churches are now able to open their doors to congregants. The pandemic began just weeks before Holy Week in 2020, which forced the majority of churches to close during the end of Lent.

“Even as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we know the world will never be the same. However, our faith gives us hope in a better world to come,” he said.

While many churches in the region will continue to livestream their masses, some can accept parishioners. In D.C., there are still capacity limits for other houses of worship, but in an injunction filed in D.C. Superior Court last week, a judge ruled capacity limits do not apply to the Archdiocese of Washington.

“Though the Court acknowledges the District’s interest in stemming the spread of the virus, it finds that the Archdiocese is entitled to relief,” Judge Trevor McFadden wrote.

In Maryland and Virginia, there are no longer restrictions on how many people can worship together. However, both require anyone in a congregant setting to socially distance and wear masks. Virginia requires 6 feet of space between parties of people in places of worship, if there are more than 10 individuals indoors and 25 individuals outdoors.

The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, where the Archbishop of Washington plans to celebrate Holy Week and Easter, will allow 150 people to worship during mass. Those masses will also be livestreamed in multiple languages, according to the Archdiocese of Washington.

You can find the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle’s Holy Week schedule here.

Get more detail on masses on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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