Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 19, 2021 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- The Archbishop of Washington prayed for all victims of the COVID-19 pandemic at a national memorial service on Tuesday evening.
“We turn to the Lord of all to receive these, our sisters and brothers, into eternal peace, and to comfort all those who grieve the loss of a loved one,” Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. prayed at the at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., appearing alongside President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“We do so not as strangers or disinterested persons, but as fellow citizens who share some limited portion of their grief and sorrow,” Cardinal Gregory said of the prayer.
Gregory delivered the invocation at the Nationwide COVID-19 Memorial service on Tuesday evening, held on the eve of the 2021 Inauguration Day. More than 400,000 Americans have died from the COVID-19 pandemic since it began.
“To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal,” President-elect Joe Biden stated in front of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. “It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.”
Tuesday’s service also featured a rendition of “Amazing Grace” by Lori Marie Key, a 29 year-old nurse who worked in the COVID-19 unit at her hospital at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System; she appeared in a viral video earlier in 2020 singing “Amazing Grace” while at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Michigan.
Biden’s remarks were followed by a lighting around the Reflecting Pool. According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, cities from around the U.S. joined in unity, lighting up prominent landmarks.
Cardinal Gregory mentioned the special pain of family and friends of COVID victims, who could not have a proper funeral for them due to restrictions on public gatherings.
“We pray for the countless families and relatives who had to surrender their loved ones without the comfort and the consolation of a familiar funeral ritual, according to their religious traditions or selection,” Cardinal Gregory prayed.
“May our prayer this evening serve as a small expression of our national desire to comfort and strengthen those who have endured the loss of a loved one to this pandemic, and may it be a resounding gesture of gratitude for all those who have cared for the victims of this virus, and their loved ones,” he said.
Biden, a Catholic, has reportedly invited congressional leaders to attend a service with him at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in D.C. on Wednesday morning.