NEW YORK — It would be several hours before Pope Francis would eventually arrive for a solemn interfaith service at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum honoring victims of the September 11 terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan Friday morning but he was already proving to be a unifying force among the diverse throng of invited guests who were patiently waiting to meet him.
And for Monsignor Donald Beckmann of the St. Ignatius Martyr Church in Long Beach, Brooklyn, it was a sign. A sign said Beckmann of Francis' unifying effect which he says is due to more than anything else, the pontiff's simple presentation of himself as a proclaimer of Jesus. Nothing more.
"I think one of the things that I've been touched by is the way so many groups of Christians, including Evangelicals, have noticed the way that his focus is not on himself, his focus is on Jesus," said Beckmann as he waited along Church Street between Liberty and Cortlandt Streets to get past the security check-point to the museum. "Jesus is the one we share in common, Francis sees himself as someone who proclaims Jesus and in that, he can be what we Catholics feel the papacy is meant to be — a focus of unity for all the Christian people." more >>
Governments and media organizations in the Western world must stop ignoring the mass slaughter of believers in the Middle East, says George J. Marlin, chairman of Aid to the Church in Need, an organization that provides aid to persecuted Christians.
During an interview with The Christian Post Marlin revealed what he believes to be the only solution to defeating radical Islamic groups such as the Islamic State, whose militants are ravaging the Middle East.
He also told CP that the Western world has been too quiet concerning the hell believers are living in inside Muslim controlled nations, such as Syria and Iraq, and that American Christians need to defend the rights of their brothers and sisters around the world. more >>
WASHINGTON — Emmy-winning filmmaker Martin Doblmeier and Journey Films have produced a new two-hour documentary called "Chaplains" that will air on PBS stations in 2015, which seeks to enlighten the general public about the role that American chaplains play in their various arenas of work.
The film shadows chaplains from various faiths and theatres — from a Muslim police chaplain who serves as a middleman between cops and the hostile Muslim community, to a Buddhist chaplain who fulfills the spiritual needs of prisoners in an Oregon state prison — and provides a sense of the benefits that chaplains provide to the communities they serve.
At the film's premiere screening Thursday night at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Doblmeier, who has produced over 25 films focused on religion, faith and spirituality, explained that the reason for producing the documentary is that most people don't understand the importance that the chaplaincy has to society as a whole. more >>
PHILADELPHIA — The eyes of the world will be on Pope Francis when he makes a visit to the western hemisphere next month, stopping first in Cuba before heading north to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. But his stop at the Ground Zero memorial in NYC amid commemoration of the deaths of thousands due to terrorism has been described by organizers as an "extremely important event for the world."
Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with survivors and family members of those killed in the World Trade Center attacks, which claimed the lives of 2,606 people. Those slain were mostly New Yorkers but among them were visitors hailing from the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, South Korea, India, and dozens of other countries. More than 400 of those killed when the Twin Towers fell were law enforcement officials and firefighters who were among first responders when al-Qaida-linked terrorists crashed commercial airliners into each tower.
That Sept. 25 meeting with 9/11 families will be held outside by the twin reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in downtown Manhattan, Helen Osman, secretary of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained during a briefing about the pope's U.S. visit with reporters Friday. more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham has spoken out against Orlando International Airport's recent unveiling of plans to create a new Muslim prayer room that will cost $250,000 in taxpayer dollars, and asked how loud would objections be if the money were allocated to build a prayer room for Evangelical Christians, or other groups.
"Let's call this what it is — a mosque. The airport already had an interfaith prayer room since 1983 (with prayer rugs available in it) — but that wasn't enough. How loud do you think the objections would be today if they spent $250,000 in taxpayer money to build a new prayer room exclusively for Evangelical Christians? Or for Jews or Mormons or any other group? Why do Muslims get preference?" Graham asked in a Facebook post on Saturday.
News 13 reported earlier this month that the prayer room is set to open on Sept. 1. The decision to build a new "Reflection Room" to Terminal B at the Orlando airport was made after Emirates Airlines announced it's adding non-stop flights from Orlando to Dubai, which would mean an increase of passengers from the Middle East. more >>
Sherri Shepherd returns to TV this week, a year after leaving "The View," to premiere her very own show "Holy & Hungry," which will air on the cooking channel.
The six-episode series explores faith and food as Shepherd, a devout Christian, visits different restaurants and religious leaders who are in the food industry, including a bistro run by a pastor, a kosher deli, and a halal butcher, among others. The former ABC talk show host describes eating as "a religious experience."
"For every single restaurant or chef I visited, food is their calling and it's how they minister to people," Shepherd told The Huffington Post. "I don't care who you are or what you believe, you still gotta sit down and eat. And when you sit down and eat you feel at peace, and that's when, I believe, you can change the world." more >>