Biden seeks spiritual comfort before maelstrom of ‘loneliest job in the world’

The church of St Joseph on the Brandywine in Wilmington has played a significant role in the life of Joe Biden.

It was no surprise then that, even as he begins the transition from private citizen to most powerful man on the planet, he sought spiritual comfort within its 19th-century walls.

What was surprising perhaps was that the small gathering of media and members of the public at the church gates was granted such a clear view of the former vice president, now under increased Secret Service protection, as he made his way inside.

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 08: President-elect Joe Biden visits a family grave site after attending a mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church on November 08, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden became president-elect after beating incumbent President Donald Trump. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Image:Mr Biden visits a family grave site after attending church

It was to the total delight of locals who are getting used to the novelty of being home to Delaware’s first ever president of the United States.

He was accompanied by his daughter Ashley, and grandson Hunter, and it wasn’t just the 10.30am mass that brought the president-elect to St Joseph.

As he left the service, he made the short walk to the church’s cemetery. Buried there are his first wife Neilia and daughter Naomi, killed in a car accident in 1972, and his son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015.

As they paid their respects, Mr Biden was seen to put his arm around the shoulder of Beau’s son Hunter.

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It was a very personal moment for a man whose private life has become part of his political story. That story will now be America’s guiding light for the next four years.

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‘This is the time to heal in America’ – Biden

Karen Peterson and Victoria Bandy also regularly pay their respects at Beau Biden’s grave. Like most people in the neighbourhood, they know the Biden family and have plenty of stories of their encounters over the years.

They say Mr Biden’s Catholic faith is fundamental to who he is, and the president he will be.

“I think it means everything to him. I think it gives him the strength to do this,” said Victoria. “I don’t think his heart was really in this to begin with because of losing Beau, but he knows Beau would have wanted him to do this.”

Karen added: “Joe’s faith is central to his life and the person he is.”

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Celebrations continue into night after Biden win

While Mr Biden was at mass, the team managing the transition from the Trump administration was unveiling a website outlining his plans. More announcements are coming – a sign that Mr Biden is not holding his breath waiting for Donald Trump to concede.

There was a wave for the supporters who had gathered in the sunshine to offer their good wishes before Mr Biden retreated back into the protective bubble that will be his life from now on.

It was a few moments of peace and reflection for a man who will soon enough face the maelstrom of what has so often been called the loneliest job in the world.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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