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'Prayer for America' embraces many faiths

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Choirs rehearse for the multi-faith service planned Sunday for victims and their families at Yankee Stadium.  


NEW YORK (CNN) -- A service in honor of the missing and dead from the September 11 deadly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is planned for Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, with prayers being offered from representatives of a wide variety of faiths.

The service, billed as "Prayer for America," is to be simulcast on large television screens at stadiums in Staten Island and Brooklyn.

According to a preliminary program that the organizers said is subject to change, the service will begin with an introduction by actor James Earl Jones at 3 p.m. EDT, followed by a welcome from talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

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The Presentation of Colors will be carried out by Adm. Robert Natter, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, with the New York City Inter-Agency Uniformed Color Guard and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Joint Military Color Guard.

Police officers Danny Rodriguez and Ann Marie Maloney and Sgt. Kim Royster then will sing the national anthem.

Invocations will be made by Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, chaplain of the New York City Fire Department.

The Blowing of the Shofar then will take place. The shofar, or ram's horn, is the instrument used to announce major national and religious events in Jewish life.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier will lead a Prayer for the Country, followed by Rabbi Alvin Kass, the New York City Police Department chaplain, who will lead a Prayer for the Families.

Rabbi Marc Gellman, president of the New York Board of Rabbis, will read a reflection, and Rabbi Joy Levitt will read Psalm 23.

They will be followed by Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and the Amor-Artis Chorus & Orchestra, who will sing "Ave Maria."

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's remarks will be followed by the ringing of the bell by a police officer from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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The stadium seats 57,000, but additional seats can be added if necessary.  

Griselda Cuevas of the Incarnation Parish in Manhattan will read in Spanish from Romans 8:36-39. Firefighter George Reece will read the same passage in English.

The Most Rev. Thomas V. Daily, bishop of Brooklyn, then will offer a reflection and prayer.

A Sikh prayer and reflection will be offered by Dr. Inberjit Singh of the Sikh Temple in Richmond Hills.

The Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem will then sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," followed by remarks from Gov. George Pataki.

The Adhan Call to Prayer will be made by the Muezzin, Brother Abdul Wali Y. Shaheed, translated by Sister Zaimah Sabree and Masjid Malcolm Shabazz of Harlem.

Muslim prayer and reflection then will be offered: a prayer by Imam Fajri Ansari, a prayer by Imam Muhammad Shamsi-Ali and a reflection by Imam Izak-EL M. Pasha, a chaplain of the New York Police Department, with Lt. Sharif Nasef and Officer Adil Almonpaser.

Bette Midler then will sing "Wind Beneath My Wings," followed by the ringing of the bell by the Rev. Earnest Lyght, a bishop.

The Council of Churches of the City of New York then will offer prayer and reflection.

The Rev. Carolyn Holloway will read Psalm 34:1-8; the Right Rev. Mark Sisk will read a prayer; the Rev. Dr. James Forbes will read Matthew 5:3-12; Archbishop Anania Arapajian of the Armenian Church in America will say a prayer; the Rev. Calvin Butts, president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, will offer a reflection; and the Rev. Dr. David Benke will say a prayer.

Country singer Lee Greenwood will then perform "God Bless the USA."

Archbishop Demetrious, the Greek Orthodox archbishop of America, will say a benediction as will Pandit Roop Sukhram of the Hindu Sreeraam Temple in Brooklyn.

The service will conclude with the Amor-Artis Chorus & Orchestra and Rodriguez singing "America the Beautiful."

Most of the tickets are to be given to family members of the dead and missing as well as to rescue workers, though a limited number will be given to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"The prayers are for the people missing, the people who have died and for America and for everyone that survived," Giuliani said.

Security remains a concern. No bags, backpacks, umbrellas or bottles will be permitted at the stadiums.





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