Overflow crowds turned out at two D.C. churches to celebrate Easter Mass with the archbishop of Washington, who attributed the huge turnout to a recent archdiocesan campaign, to economic hardship and, above all, to a spiritual revival.
Nearly 2,000 people attended Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl’s service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, almost double the cathedral’s capacity. A similar overflow showed up for his Mass later in the day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“I’ve been here 24 years, off and on, and I’ve never seen the numbers I’ve seen here today,” said Monsignor W. Ronald Jameson, the rector of St. Matthew’s. “It was just magnificent to see that expression of praise for the Lord.”
Archbishop Wuerl was clearly delighted by the turnout, starting his homily by mentioning a radio report Sunday morning of Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass. “It said there were tens of thousands of people in the square,” Archbishop Wuerl said. “They had nothing on us.”
Archbishop Wuerl went on to describe Easter as more than a simple celebration, but as a renewal of faith and baptismal promises.