Bahai News - Catholic church hosts interfaith prayer service
Catholic church hosts interfaith prayer service
By Bobby Ross Jr.
Their hearts broken but their
faith strong, Oklahoma religious leaders -- Christian, Jewish and Muslim --
came together Wednesday for an interfaith prayer service at St. Joseph Old
The Most Rev. Eusebius Beltran, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Oklahoma
City, described the cathedral -- the closest church to the 1995 bombing site
-- as sacred ground.
"This building was totally destroyed and had to be rebuilt," Beltran said.
"It was built back as a sign of faith and remembrance of those people who
were killed here at the site of the Murrah Building."
Such a setting was appropriate, he said, as several hundred Oklahomans of
various faiths joined "to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters in New
York and Washington, D.C."
With Gov. Frank Keating and first lady Cathy Keating seated on the front row,
clergy prayed for strength and hope for America.
The crowd included bottle- sucking babies, nuns in traditional attire and
gray-haired grandmothers, as well as a group from Mount St. Mary High
School, an Oklahoma City parochial school.
"I'm just devastated," said student Glen Wright, 17, reflecting the mood of
Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City recalled
the story of Joseph, the boy with a coat of many colors.
Despite his brothers selling him into slavery, Joseph became a great leader,
"We understand that no matter how great the test, no matter how desperate
things seem, truth, justice and God's ultimate power will shine and radiate
in the hearts of His chosen servants," Webb said. "And His light will shine
forth and dispel the shadows of sin, transgression and immorality."
Rabbi Richard Marcovitz of Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City talked about
his personal trauma.
The youngest of his five children -- Elizabeth, 18 -- just began her
freshman year at New York University. The Casady School graduate lives about
a mile from the World Trade Center towers.
"She saw the smoke out of her residence hall," Marcovitz said after the
"She was taking pictures of the World Trade Center. She turned around and
wanted to take another one and, 'Zap!' There was no more World Trade
Others speaking at the service included the Rev. Rita Newton, a Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor who is executive director of the
Oklahoma Conference of Churches; Dr. George Cooper, representing the Baha'i
community; Elder Carolyn Stephens, executive presbyter of the Indian Nations
Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); and the Rev. Robert Elliott,
president of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma City.
©Copyright 2001, The Oklahoman
Page last updated/revised 091401
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