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Dan Lincoln, a Foggy Bottom resident and St. Matthew’s usher, said he understood Cardinal Wuerl’s warning of distraction because he sees people in his community “so preoccupied with their cellphones and priorities, they don’t even know where they’re going.”

Built in the shape of a Latin cross, the 115-year-old church can hold 1,000 people under its mosaic ceiling. It is the site of the October Red Mass, held specifically to pray for the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court. President Kennedy’s funeral was held there in 1963, and in 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in the church during his visit to the United States.

Cardinal Wuerl was scheduled to also celebrate a noon Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.