Joe Biden invites congressional leadership to church service ahead of inauguration

shutterstock 631694987 Cathedral of St. Matthew, Washington, D.C. | MarcosCarvalho/Shutterstock

President-elect Joe Biden invited both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to attend a church service with him on Wednesday morning ahead of his inauguration, Punchbowl News reported on Tuesday. 

The service will take place at the Catholic Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in downtown Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are all expected to attend. 

Biden will be just the second baptized Catholic to serve as president of the United States, preceded only by John F. Kennedy. Pelosi herself is also a baptized Catholic. 

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the service, including whether or not the service was a Mass. 

Punchbowl News characterized the invitation as an olive branch from Biden to Republicans, in an effort for him "to get off on the right foot with the congressional leadership, at least publicly" as he begins his presidential term. 

McConnell and Schumer will switch Senate leadership roles after Democrats gained an effective majority in the chamber; Georgia's two new Democratic Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will be sworn in to the Senate on Wednesday, along with California's Alex Padilla, who was appointed to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate. 

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, will also deliver the invocation at a memorial service at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday to honor the nearly 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19. Biden and Harris are expected to attend.  

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