Washington National Cathedral welcomes and blesses ACC universities’ mascots

By ENS Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2024

Washington National Cathedral vicar the Rev. Dana Corsello (far left) and cathedral provost the Rev. Jan Naylor Cope prepare to use holy water to bless seven mascots from Athletic Coast Conference teams that visited the cathedral March 12. Eight other mascots also toured the building. Photo: Rodney Baylor/Washington National Cathedral

[Episcopal News Service] Washington National Cathedral is known as a house of prayer for all people. On March 12, it also became a house of prayer for all mascots – or, more immediately, mascots representing the 15 teams of the Athletic Coast Conference.

The teams were in Washington, D.C., for the conference’s annual basketball tournament taking place March 12-16. Kevin Eckstrom, the cathedral’s chief public affairs officer, told Episcopal News Service that it’s usual for teams and their mascots to tour the tournament’s host city and take photos at major sites. “The ACC reached out about coming to the cathedral, and we immediately said yes,” he said.

The 15 mascots that represent the teams of the Athletic Coast Conference gather in front of the rose window at Washington National Cathedral during a visit on March 12. The teams were in Washington, D.C., for the ACC men’s basketball tournament. Photo: Rodney Baylor/Washington National Cathedral

Two cathedral clergy – Provost Jan Naylor Cope and Vicar Dana Corsello – offered to provide a blessing to the mascots, and Eckstrom said seven of the 15 took them up on that offer. He said that Corsello “prayed for safety, good sportsmanship and fun at the tournament,” adding, “we were pretty clear that God doesn’t play favorites.”

In his blog post about the event, Eckstrom wrote, “We’re happy to report that the (Baptist) Demon Deacon from Wake Forest, the (Roman Catholic) Fighting Irish Leprechaun from Notre Dame and even the Blue Devil from Duke all felt right at home inside this Episcopal cathedral.”