President Biden is the second Roman Catholic commander-in-chief in U.S. history

By Sean Neumann
April 04, 2021 02:15 PM
Joe and JIll Biden Easter Message
Joe and Jill Biden
| Credit: POTUS/Twitter

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden celebrated Easter by encouraging all Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Jill and I want to send you our warmest Easter greetings to you and your family. As we celebrate this most holy day, we know many are still going without familiar comforts of the season," Biden said in a video posted on his Twitter account Sunday. "The virus is not gone and so many of us still feel the longing and the loneliness of distance. For a second year, most will be apart from their families, their friends, full congregations that fill us with joy."

"Today, as spring returns, we see hope all around us." added Dr. Biden, noting that "more and more Americans are getting life-saving vaccines."

As the message came to a close, the president said that "getting vaccinated is a moral obligation, one that can save your life and the lives of others."

"By getting vaccinated and encouraging your congregations and your communities to get vaccinated, we not only can beat this virus, we can also haste the day when we can celebrate the holidays together," he said

President Biden, 78, and Dr. Biden, 69, spent the weekend at Camp David — a familiar presidential getaway in nearby Maryland, leaving the White House mid-afternoon on Friday for the weekend retreat.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the White House once again made adjustments to the traditional presidential events surrounding the Easter holiday.

The annual Easter egg roll, which has been a White House tradition since the late 1800s, took place virtually this year as the country continues rolling out millions of vaccines around the country.

In light of the change, the White House Historical Association created a website where families can take part in scavengers hunts, bingo games, puzzles and other activities to celebrate the holiday.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, were in Losa Angeles on Sunday, according to their weekend schedule sent out by the White House.

The pair celebrated their first Passover as the nation's Second Couple last week.

US President-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady Jill Biden attend Mass
President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., in January
| Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

Biden is the second Roman Catholic president in U.S. history, following President John F. Kennedy — although, most commanders-in-chief have been affiliated with Christianity in some form.

The 46th president has often pointed to his religion as a moral guide, centering his first speech as president-elect last November around the hymn "On Eagle's Wings."

"It captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America," he said then.

Days later he received a call from Pope Francis congratulating him on the election.

Biden's sister, Valerie Biden Owens, told PEOPLE last year that faith is what often has guided her brother throughout his life.

"There've been dark times in Joe's life and he's held that faith that has carried him through … there's no slicing of the pie of faith and who Joe is," Owens said. "That's who Joe is: faith, family and responsibility."

Biden was raised the oldest of four kids in a middle-class, Irish Catholic family and has continued to attend mass most Sundays at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown during his first few months as president.

While calling for unity in his first few months, after taking the reigns from the divisive Donald Trump, Biden has used faith to bridge the political gap as well.

Before his inauguration in January, Biden attended mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle alongside leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.