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Bidens surprise UK churchgoers by showing up to Mass

▶ Watch Video: Biden arrives in Brussels after weekend of G-7 meetings

President Joe Biden and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, surprised locals in Falmouth, England when they dropped into Sacred Heart Catholic Church for Sunday service. 

The Bidens are in Cornwall, England for the Group of Seven – or G7 – summit, but locals were shocked to see the U.S. president at church ahead of the summit’s final day. 

“I think gobsmacked is probably a very true word,” Annie Fitzpatrick, who was at the service, told the Associated Press. “It’s quite amazing, we went into the church and they took some details from us and I thought this is a bit unusual. About 10 minutes into the service the doors opened up and President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden walked in and just sat in the pew just across from me.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden leave a church service prior to attending the G7 meeting in St. Ives, Cornwall, England, Sunday, June 13, 2021. 

Jon Super / AP

Fitzpatrick said Mr. Biden “quietly got on with his prayer like everyone was doing.

“He looked around and said peace be with you, and I was one of them so I’m delighted,” she said. “I’m not sure I will ever get over this moment completely.”

Gayle Wood, who also attended the service, said Mr. Biden appeared to make a “very generous donation” to the church before leaving.

Mr. Biden is only the second Catholic U.S. president, following former President John F. Kennedy, and frequently is seen attending church. On the morning of Election Day, he found time to attend Mass at Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

Canon Philip Dyson, who held the service at the Cornwall church on Sunday, told the PA news agency that the Bidens made him slightly nervous. 

“It’s the president of the United States of America,” he told PA, Catholic News Agency reports. “It’s a great occasion to welcome him into our parish, into the church, and it’s lovely to know he made the time in his busy schedule in order to come to Mass.”

Dyson had a short conversation with the president. “I welcomed him to Cornwall and he said he was enjoying his time here and there were many serious matters they were discussing and just hope it’s going to come to fruition,” Dyson said.

Mr. Biden said Sunday after leaving his first G7 summit that “America is back to the table. During the meetings, world leaders vowed to confront China, boost global infrastructure and donate 1 billion vaccine doses to the rest of the world. 

On Monday, the president moved on to the NATO summit in the Brussels, where he’s aiming to rally America’s European allies to help counter China and Russia, and to highlight the U.S. commitment to the 30-country alliance that was frequently maligned by his predecessor.


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