President Bush Blessed at Interfaith Service

Cardinal-Designate McCarrick Offers Prayer

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 21, 2001 ( A rabbi, a Greek Orthodox priest, a Catholic cardinal-to-be and Protestant ministers prayed for President George W. Bush and his new administration Sunday morning at an inaugural prayer service, the Associated Press said.

The pews of Washington National Cathedral were filled with members of the Bush family, friends and supporters as the Rev. Franklin Graham, continuing a tradition established by his father, the Rev. Billy Graham, invoked blessings on the new government and its leaders.

«I pray that God will place his great hand of protection on each and everyone, and especially on you, Mr. President, and your family,´´ said Graham, who also said a prayer at Bush´s swearing-in Saturday. «The greatest threat, however, lies deep within our own hearts that are infected with greed, hate and lust,´´ Graham said in his sermon.

The service was held on Bush´s first full day in office and came hours after he attended inaugural balls around the city.

One of the many clergymen offering prayers in the crossing before the altar of the Gothic-style cathedral was Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Washington, who was wearing the red cap symbolic of his being named by the Pope earlier Sunday to the rank of cardinal. In a prayer, Archbishop McCarrick asked God to grant «wisdom and grace´´ to Bush and all who will serve the nation in his administration.

The service was stately and ecumenical. Although the cathedral is Episcopalian, it has long functioned as a nondenominational place of worship. Other clergy members offering prayers were Rabbi Samuel Karff, Greek Othodox Bishop Demetrios, the Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, the bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Washington, and the Very Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, dean of the cathedral.

The first inaugural prayer service was held on April 30, 1789, at St. Paul´s Chapel in New York City for newly inaugurated President George Washington. President Franklin Roosevelt re-established the precedent in 1933. Bush´s father, President George H. Bush, attended a similar service at the cathedral on the Sunday after his inauguration in 1989.

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