By Catholic Review Staff
More than 400 people from a wide variety of faiths and backgrounds ushered in the new year by coming together at St. Katharine Drexel in Frederick for a Dec. 31 interfaith prayer service.
Participants included Imam Yahya Hendi of Clergy Without Borders, Rabbi Dan Sikowitz of Kol Ami Congregation and the Rev. Barbara Kershner-Daniel of the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ.
In welcoming the participants and leading the opening prayer, Father Keith Boisvert, St. Katharine’s pastor, said the prayer service offered the opportunity to contemplate what a new year will bring and how those gathered will change – how the world will change them and how they will change the world.
“Each one of us can and must make the decision,” Father Boisvert said, “Will we build walls or will we build bridges?”
In coming together, members of the faith community made a statement to the world, the pastor said.
“We say, loud and clear, that diversity is a gift,” he said, “that our differences enrich our experience of life and that it is possible to overcome the fear of the unknown through trust, understanding and cooperation.”
Several community representatives offered prayers, including Bud Otis, president of the Frederick County Council.
“We now raise up to you, O God, this county and its people, to seek your blessings upon us for the coming year 2016,” he prayed. “We pray for peace and prosperity for our county and its residents.”
Others offered prayer intentions for members of the armed forces, the media, civil servants, health care institutions, those who help those in need and more.
The service concluded with the singing of “Let there be Peace on Earth.”
Imam Yahya Hendi of Clergy Without Borders, Father Keith Boisvert of St. Katharine Drexel in Frederick, Rabbi Dan Sikowitz of Kol Ami Congregation and the Rev. Barbara Kershner-Daniel of the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ were among the participants of a Dec. 31 interfaith prayer service at St. Katharine. (Courtesy St. Katharine Drexel)