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Pope Francis Leads Interfaith Prayer Service at Ground Zero. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired September 25, 2015 - 11:30   ET




[11:32:44] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to ground zero here in lower Manhattan. I'm here with Chris Cuomo, also Father Edward Beck, as well as Bruce Feiler, and others.

What you're looking at Foundation Hall and this is the site of where an interfaith prayer service is going to be taking place. And just to give you a sense of what you're going to be seeing over the next 30 or 40 minutes or so, the pope will come into Foundation Hall. There will be a prayer of remembrance. Then there's going to be prayers for peace by -- there will be a Hindu prayer, a Buddhist prayer, Christian prayer, Muslim prayer, a prayer in the honor of the deceased. You will hear some thoughts from Pope Francis himself. A chorus, the Young People's chorus of New York City will sing "Let There Be Peace on Earth," and that will end the multi-religious event.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This may be the most powerful image that Pope Francis will behold, certainly, thus far, on his trip. That wall you see on your screen right now, it has the metal fittings on it, it's at the back of the stage. That was not built for this memorial. That is part of the original foundation of the twin towers. It is what was holding back the waters of the Hudson in this part of Manhattan, what they used to call the battery area where the World Trade Center is, where Wall Street is. It was largely added to the island of Manhattan. Because of that, they had to put in these deep foundational walls. That wall weeps. It leaks. There's a debate as to whether or not architecturally that was structural or not, but I tell you, it's a powerful image to see the water trickle down that wall, how people look at it, and the reverence that it commands of people.

It will be interesting to see Pope Francis, who's right in front of it now, how that wall affects him, what it means, because the people in that audience right now, Anderson, that wall means very much to them.

COOPER: Let's listen in to the -- let's take you into Foundation Hall.


(APPLAUSE) [11:36:34] CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: Papa Francesco, representatives of the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Native American, Jewish, Islamic and Christian communities of New York City, our civic and public officials and the board of the September 11th Memorial Foundation, I renew to you our welcome and our joy at your visit.

Welcome, Holy Father.


CARDINAL: Now, I can tell you, Papa Francesco, we in New York are sinners. We are sinners. We have many flaws. We make many mistakes. But one of the things we do very well is sincere and fruitful inter- religious friendship. Our ancestors came here for religious freedom, and they found in New York City an atmosphere of respect and appreciation for religious diversity. About which you just spoke at the United Nations. We, who have the honor of pastoring our people, we work together, we pray together, we meet together, we talk to one another, and we try to serve, as one, the city we are proud to call our earthly home, while awaiting our true and eternal residence in heaven. So very often do we recall the faith of the Psalmist, God is in the midst of the city.

And your prayer and your presence and your words this morning inspire us. So, thank you for being here.



In this place where horrendous violence was committed falsely in the name of God, we representatives of the world religions in this great city of New York, gather to offer words of comfort and prayer. With love and affection, we recall the victims of the 9/11 attacks. We pray that their souls and the soul of all those first responders are forever remembered for an eternal blessing.

Today and every day, may we understand our shared mission to be in the words of Pope Francis, a field hospital after battle, to heal the wounds and warm the hearts of a humanity in so desperate need of comfort.

[11:40:08] IMAM KHALID LATIF, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY CHAPLIN: Intolerance and ignorance fueled those who attacked this place. The courage of today's gathering distinguishes us from the opponents of religious freedom as we stand together as brothers and sisters to condemn their horrific acts of violence and honor each life that was lost unconditionally. As we read in the Koran that one life lost is like all mankind and one life saved is like all mankind. To God, all life is sacred and precious. Where others fail, let us be the peaceful reminders of that notion to his creation.

COSGROVE: The book of Psalms teaches us that we should be (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). We should love peace and we should pursue peace. Let us honor those killed in this place by becoming, in the words of St. Francis, instruments of peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy.

LATIF: Men and women from all walks of life ran to this place in hopes of saving lives. The sole intent of those first responders was the protection of others, regardless of the cost to them as individuals. As the worst of humanity sought to take life, they exemplified the best of humanity through their selflessness, willing to give their entire life in hopes of saving another. Their story is one that each of us should carry forward with us, both in thought and in action, as we move forward from this place.

The Koran declares that, "Allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good." Let us embody their unconditional love, their continued strength, their unwavering hope, and their pursuit of good, as we seek to build a much needed peace.

COSGROVE: So, let us learn to share this big apple we all call home in all of its diversity and all of its flavor. Through friendship and dialogue, may the timbre and tonality of each of our faith traditions be heard in the great symphony of our city and nation. On this the historic anniversary of (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), let us celebrate, affirm and build on our shared commitment to inter-religious dialogue. In the words of Pope Francis, "May we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters. May we learn to understand the sufferings of others. May we live to see the day, as envisioned by the Prophet Micah, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree and no one shall make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken."

LATIF: The Koran states, "Oh, mankind, we have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you might know one another." We have gathered here today as men and women who seek to meet ignorance with understanding. Through our knowing of each other today, let us move beyond a mere toleration of our differences and work towards a much-needed celebration of them. Let us be bold enough to build partnerships with new friends and allies and together be the reason that people have hope in this world, and not the reason that people dread it.


[11:44:24] POPE FRANCIS: Oh, God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and religious traditions, who gather today in this hallowed ground, the scene of unspeakable violence and pain. We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here, the heroic first responders, our firefighters, police officers, emergency service workers and port authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11th. We ask you, in your compassion, to bring healing to those who because of their presence here 14 years ago, continue to suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope. We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering. God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world, peace in the hearts of all men and women, and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love, those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred and who justify killing in the name of religion. God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, kindly take your seats.



UNIDENTIFIED BUDDHIST REPRESENTATIVE: May God protect us. May God nourish us. May we work together. May our dialogue be enlightening. May we be free from hate. Om, peace, peace, peace. Lead us from untruth to truth. From darkness to light, from death to immortality. May all know peace.



UNIDENTIFIED BUDDHIST REPRESENTATIVE: Homage to the Buddha, victory begets enmity, the defeated dwell in pain. The peaceful live happily discarding both victory and defeat. One should not do any slight wrong which the wise might censure, may all beings be happy and secure! May all beings have happy minds! Peace!




UNIDENTIFIED RELIGIOUS REPRESENTATIVE: God judges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear that truth is above everything, and the highest deed is truthful living. Know that we attain God when we love, and only that victory endures, in consequence of which no one is defeated.



UNIDENTIFIED JEWISH RABBI: The reading is from the original Greek text of the Gospel according to Matthew.

(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) UNIDENTIFIED RELIGIOUS REPRESENTATIVE: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.





UNIDENTIFIED MUSLIM REPRESENTATIVE: Oh Allah! You are peace, and all peace is from you and all peace returns to you.

Grant us to live with the salutation of peace, and lead us to your abode of peace. You are blessed, our Lord, the exalted, oh, owner of magnificence and honor!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for a prayer for the fallen.