How DC-area churches are handling holiday services amid COVID-19 surge

A day after the Washington National Cathedral announced its Christmas schedule, the spike in COVID-19 infections in D.C. has led to a shift to online services through the holiday season.

It’s an effort to “protect the health of everyone in our community,” the Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral, said in a letter Wednesday.



“Unfortunately, as the omicron variant takes hold across the world, our city seems to be leading the nation in infections,” Hollerith said.

The building will be closed for all activities, with plans to reopen in reduced capacity for public worship on Jan. 9.

The place of worship usually gets more than 15,000 worshippers over the Christmas holiday.

Hollerith said that he’s disappointed not to be able to celebrate in person but said that the pandemic has shown how to gather online. Last Christmas, D.C.-area places of worship moved holiday services online, including Christmas and Easter.

Below is the cathedral’s online holiday schedule:

  • Lessons & Carols – available Thursday at 6 p.m.
  • Christmas Eve Eucharist – 10 p.m.
  • Christmas Day Organ Recital – 1:30 p.m.
  • Sunday Eucharist (Dec. 26 and Jan. 2) – 11:15 a.m.

You can join through the cathedral’s YouTube channel or on the Washington National Cathedral website.

Catholic churches in the D.C. region are offering the option of going to mass online, as well. This includes the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — which told WTOP it is “fully open” — and parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington.

Catholic churches are also following local indoor mask mandates. D.C. and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland reinstated their indoor mask mandates.

The Catholic Standard reported that in jurisdictions where there is no mask mandate, priests in parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington may ask churchgoers to wear face coverings.


More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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