Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver will host an evening of interreligious prayer for peace in the Middle East on Monday at the Denver Cathedral.
The initiative, a collaborative effort of the Archdiocese of Denver and the Office of Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in the United States, seeks to stop the murder of Christians, the destruction of Christian homes, properties, churches and places of worship, and the persecution of Jewish and Muslim minorities in the Middle East.
“Though no simple resolution to these tragedies is readily apparent, we, as people of faith, cannot help but be moved to respond in some way,” the archbishop wrote in a recent column.
“We are advocating for the safety and the protection of innocent lives. For all people who are the children of Abraham and all ethnic groups undergoing slaughter,” said Father Andre-Sebastian Mahanna, pastor of St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Lakewood, Colorado, and the director of the Maronite ecumenical and interfaith office.
Religious leaders will represent Christians churches from the Middle East, both Catholic and Orthodox; representatives of Christian churches of the West, both evangelical and Catholic; and members of the Jewish and Muslim religions.
“We are coming together as a people who believe in God, … proud of our diversity, yet honored to call one another brothers and sisters, to celebrate and protect the civilization of diversity, peace, love and co-existence,” said Father Mahanna.
The event will feature readings from several texts of the monotheistic faiths, including the Torah, the New Testament and the Koran, as well as hymns and universal prayers for peace.
The “Our Father” will be chanted in all of the historical sacred languages: Hebrew, Syro-Aramaic, Greek and Latin; as well as English; and prayers will be chanted in Arabic.
The multi-cultural gathering will celebrate the value of all human beings, and energize people of faith in Colorado to demonstrate their solidarity with the Christians in the Middle East.
During the event, Archbishop Aquila will deliver a solemn statement of solidarity on behalf of the religions gathered.