Multi-Religious Gathering with Pope Francis

Deep in the rock of lower Manhattan a Memorial and Museum has two levels beneath the street level. Along with the flow of water into deep nearby pools, this edifice commemorates the vicious attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Pope Francis addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the morning of September 25, 2015 and then came to a different experience of many nations; these were religious communities living in New York City and the surrounding area. They bore witness by their presence to the hope of building a spiritual edifice to strengthen the commitment of all to a vision of harmony built on mutual understanding that, in their diversity, they may contribute to the life of justice that lays the foundation for true peace in this city.

For the Catholic Church this commitment was expressed profoundly in the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration of the Church’s Relation to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate), which was promulgated on October 28, 1965. The anniversary was commemorated as background to this ceremony.

The Pope ended his “Prayer for Remembrance” that God

“Comfort and console us,
Strengthen us in hope,
And give us the wisdom and courage
To work tirelessly for a world
Where true peace and love reign
Among nations and in the hearts of all.”

After five religious leaders read a message of peace from traditions of East and West, the Jewish prayer in memory of the deceased was chanted. Pope Francis offered a reflection that can be read on Zenit  at

To symbolize hope for the future, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”   [youtube][/youtube]May this experience become a foundation for the flow of peace to reach far beyond the five boroughs of New York City!

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