You are here

Worshipping with Pope Francis and the religious world

Pope Francis at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

This morning I joined 450 others in the open space in the 9/11 Memorial Museum for an interfaith service with Pope Francis. Most attendees were religious leaders from the New York area, but there were many family members of 9/11 victims, along with political figures and various celebrities.

Because of security, we all had to be in the hall 90 minutes before the service began. And every religious tradition in the New York area, if not on the planet, was represented. It was a stunning display of solidarity – all in the interest of peace.

Pope Francis prayed in English about peace, and preached in Spanish about peace; all the while acknowledging the horror of what happened on the very site 14 years ago and radiating a compassion for the suffering of the human condition.

We had all come to see the pope, but as I left with a few of my bishop colleagues, we remarked that his presence simply made manifest what was already there – a respect for difference, a desire for reconciliation and an acknowledgement of God’s reach – which not only embraces religious diversity but can bind religions together as a collective witness for peace.

Pope Francis, in his humility, piety and understated verbal eloquence, has a brilliant ability to release the best in all of us. His is an extraordinary example of how the life of faith can help set people free. Which is what I felt as I headed back to Newark.


Thank you Bishop Beckwith for sharing your experience. Gilda DiMargo, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Glen Rock.

I appreciate your reflection that puts a big event into a real context.

The Pope's words to that diverse audience are means of hope and grace.


This Pope has put the Roman Catholic church on a new path in a very positive direction. I'm wondering if it's possible that representatives of our Anglican Communion can sit down with representatives of the Roman Catholic church and begin to talk about overcoming our five-century division. We have all prayed for it, but I suspect none of us ever believed it could happen, certainly in our lifetimes. I'm still not certain, at the age of 65, that I will ever see it, but it seems to me that this is the greatest opportunity for Christian dialogue for reunification that has ever occurred in my lifetime. Pope Francis asked us all to pray for him. I certainly will!

A wonderfully dear man who could almost make us forget that his stance on women and gay marriage has not changed one bit from his predecessors. Neither has his stance on the marriage of priests. He lovingly invites women and gays into a church where they will be second class citizens. He seems to understand the humbleness of if he only understood the acceptance.

Add new comment

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). The Communications Office of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark reserves the right not to publish comments that are posted anonymously or that we deem do not foster respectful dialogue.