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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

US religious leaders offer prayers for the country and for the new president

One day after President Donald Trump took the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States, leaders of different faith communities – including Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl – gathered to offer prayers for the new administration and for the country.

The interfaith prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral on 21st January was attended by President Trump and first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, members of their families, other administration officials and invited guests.

“Bless our land with honest industry, sound learning, and an honourable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way,” Cardinal Wuerl said during his prayer. “Give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there might be justice and peace in our land.”

In addition to Cardinal Wuerl, participants in the prayer service included leaders of Episcopalian and other Protestant denominations, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Mormon, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Baha’i and other faiths.

The service did not include a homily or sermon, but instead was a ceremony of prayers, Old and New Testament scriptural readings, a reading from the Quran, and patriotic and religious music. The service – which started about a half hour late – began with a Native American invocation chanted by a representative of the Navajo Nation.

Picture: US President Donald Trump greets Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington during an interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington on 21st January, the day after Trump’s swearing-in as the country’s 45th president. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters).