WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), announced it will postpone its annual springtime Memorial Mass until Sept. 6 out of concern for protecting the public from the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The new schedule is as follows:
Memorial Mass, 2020
Sunday, 6 September
12 Noon Eastern Daylight Savings Time
Great Upper Church
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20017
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, ordinarily celebrates the Memorial Mass each year just before or just after the Memorial Day weekend. The purpose of the Mass is to honor those who serve or have served our Nation in uniform, living and deceased.
Originally this year, the Memorial Mass was scheduled for May 31. However, beginning in mid-March, with the corona virus spreading rapidly throughout the nation’s capital, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a series of increasingly restrictive protective measures to promote social distancing. She ordered the shutdown of public schools, libraries, and nonessential businesses, and banned gatherings of ten or more people.
With Mayor Bowser’s orders in place at least until May 15, and the uncertainty about how gatherings will be treated in the immediate future as the nation continues to respond to the pandemic, Archbishop Broglio decided it best for all concerned to reschedule the Memorial Mass so as to coincide with the period set for the annual Memorial Mass for Vietnam War hero and U.S. Navy Chaplain, Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM. The Capodanno Mass, held each year close to the date of Father Capodanno’s death in combat rushing, unarmed, to the aid of embattled U.S. Marines, had been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3. Now, the two annual Masses will be celebrated in one event on Sunday.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“In the unchartered waters navigated since mid-March all of us have learned to adjust and to be more flexible. While I earnestly hope that we will soon be able to welcome the faithful to scheduled Masses, I think that prudence dictates postponing major large gatherings until there is more certainty.”
Archbishop Broglio said the Archdiocese will continue to monitor developments in the fight against the novel coronavirus and the deadly disease it can cause, COVID-19. Any possible further adjustments in schedule will be announced as warranted.