Faithful to unite at service
JoAnne Boyle, president of Seton Hill College, will take part in a ceremony tonight at the site of the World Trade Center in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist attacks.
The event is sponsored by the United States Conference on Religion and Peace, a nationwide coalition of religious groups, on behalf of the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
Boyle, a board member of the United States Conference, said she has mixed feelings about the trip to New York. ‘It’s a yearning that you have where some devastation has occurred to honor the people who died there.’
But, she said, ‘I’ve been told it’s a difficult visit to make. I’ve been told every one of your senses will be assaulted. I’ve prepared to be overwhelmed.’
The program calls for a moment of silence at the site of the World Trade Center and remarks by national religious leaders at nearby St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church.
The speakers include the primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the president of the Muslim American Society, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, an official from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the retired archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo.
Two planes hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11 crashed into the World Trade Center, causing its twin towers to collapse. A third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth crashed in Somerset County.
Boyle said a student at Seton Hill, which is a Catholic institution, lost his mother in the Pentagon attack.
The program will not only commemorate the victims but also express the commitment of religious leaders worldwide, said Antonios Kireopoulos, executive director of the United States Conference.
He said world religious leaders will compose prayers to be deposited in a box possibly made of materials from the World Trade Center. The box will be given to the city of New York next year.
At tonight’s service, Kireopoulos said, the United States Conference will announce a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to support 12 symposiums across the country. The meetings will address the issues facing religious, racial, cultural and ethnic groups.
Boyle hopes that one of the meetings can take place in Pittsburgh.
Bill Zlatos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 320-7828.