Religious leaders come together for National Day of Prayer

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel leads participants in a closing prayer during the Interfaith Observance of the National Day of Prayer May 2 at Four Freedoms Monument. The Message photo by John Rohlf

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By John Rohlf

The Message Assistant Editor

Representatives from nine different religious organizations and members of the public came together May 2 for the annual Interfaith Observance of the National Day of Prayer. 

Held at Four Freedoms Monument in Evansville, the annual event featured speakers from various religious affiliations. The tradition of calling our nation to a day of prayer to God has been held on the first Thursday of May each year since 1988. 

The theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer observance was peace and reconciliation, a theme several faith leaders mentioned in their comments and prayers.

Evansville Mayor Stephanie Terry sings the National Anthem during the Interfaith Observance of the National Day of Prayer. The Message photo by John Rohlf

Mayor Stephanie Terry led the participants in the National Anthem at the beginning of the ceremony before she read a proclamation. The proclamation declared May 2 as National Day of Prayer in the City of Evansville. 

“National Day of Prayer provides residents the opportunity to give thanks for the many blessings our country has received and to recognize the need for renewal of moral values and heavenly guidance for community leaders,” Mayor Terry read from the proclamation. 

The proclamation also said National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans, transcending our differences and bringing together citizens from different backgrounds. 

Diocese of Evansville Bishop Joseph M. Siegel was one of several faith leaders to lead a prayer during the ceremony. While delivering the prayer, Bishop Siegel asked for God’s help in bringing peace and reconciliation to our nation, starting in our families, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods and communities. In the prayer, he asked for God to give us the wisdom and courage to turn away from division, resentment and polarization, while recognizing the many gifts and blessings that bring us together as one people. He concluded his prayer by asking God to inspire us to be agents of forgiveness, truth, healing and unity. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Bishop Siegel thanked Mayor Stephanie Terry for her presence and sharing her musical gifts during the ceremony. He also expressed gratitude for the religious leaders who led in prayer and for all those who participated in the city’s observance of the National Day of Prayer. He asked that we live each day in constant prayer so that we may truly be one nation under God, drawn together in peace, truth and unity. 

Rabbi Gary Mazo of Temple Adath B’Nai Israel, Pastor Adrian Brooks of Memorial Baptist Church, Jerusha Van Camp of the Presbyterian Church, Abraham Brown of Holy Name Church in Henderson, Kentucky, Rev. Veltri Taylor of First Ebenezer Baptist Church, Pastor Phil Heller of Crossroads Christian Church, Mr. Chad Monroe of Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and Ali Saqib of the Evansville Area Islamic Society all led the crowd in prayer throughout the ceremony.

Students from Mater Dei High School performed a closing hymn at the end of the ceremony. 

Mater Dei students sing a closing hymn at Four Freedoms Monument. The Message photo by John Rohlf