WASHINGTON -- Faith leaders and clergy plan public prayer service at Ground Zero for Saturday, September 10.
Participants in the prayer service will meet in front of St. Paul's Chapel, 209 Broadway, at 10:00 a.m. and walk over to Ground Zero.
The group feels it is imperative to have a public prayer witness at Ground Zero seeking God during the 9/11 Memorial Weekend.
The organizers of the prayer service are deeply troubled that Mayor Bloomberg has banned all prayer, public expressions of faith and clergy at the Sunday 9/11 Memorial Service.
One of the leaders of the prayer service, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, has contacted New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly through his attorney to help facilitate the permit process. (See quotes from the correspondence below.)
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition states,
"In the dark days after 9/11, millions of Americans turned to God in prayer for strength, comfort, guidance and assurance. This was especially true for those who lost loved ones.
"During the past 10 years, it has only been faith in God and prayer that has enabled so many to move forward and rebuild their lives and protected America from another major terrorist attack.
"Therefore, it is extremely troubling for Mayor Bloomberg to exclude public prayer and expressions of faith from the 9/11 Memorial Service. In response to this tragic decision by the Mayor, we felt it was imperative to have a public prayer service at Ground Zero during the 9/11 weekend.
"During our prayer time at Ground Zero, we will seek God for His continued protection, pray for those who lost loved ones, pray for our leaders and elected officials and turn to God in repentance recognizing only He can bring healing and restoration to our nation."
Rev. Rob Schenck, President of the National Clergy Council, adds;
"On September 11, 2001, millions of Americans did the most important and natural thing in the face of such an enormous tragedy, they prayed. In the days following, they went to church to pray, to remember, to grieve to cry.
"Pastors around the nation spent countless hours comforting the bereaved, assuring their flocks, engaging in acts of compassion and speaking words of hope.
"The absence of both at this weeks 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero may seem like a reasonable situation to some, but it will only compound the pain and loss for some many others.
"Our intention is to address that need in the hearts and minds of so many affected by the pain of that infamous day."
Chris Slattery, Founder of Expectant Mother Care, shares,
"To exclude prayer and public expressions of faith from the 9/11 Memorial Service by Mayor Bloomberg, is to exclude one of the most important factors in helping millions of Americans get through the shock and grief of that brutal attack.
"Prayer and gracious acts of compassion and kindness by so many Priests, Ministers and churches played a critical role in helping our nation heal and rebuild after 9/11.
"We are going to pray at Ground Zero because it is essential that we honor God and continue to look to Him for strength and protection."
In correspondence to New York City Police Commissioner Kelly Attorney Brian Chavez-Ochoa states,
"We are aware of Mayor Bloomberg's edict that no public prayer will be offered and furthermore, that no clergy will be able to speak at the City's planned event for September 11, 2011 at Ground Zero.
"Therefore, we are seeking a permit and/or consent to hold a prayer vigil the day before the City's event.
"I am asking for your intercession in facilitating and expediting the process."