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Bishop Park to greet Pope Benedict in New York

April 8, 2008 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

Pope Benedict XVI

A United Methodist bishop will be among those welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to New York on April 18.

Bishop Jeremiah Park of the denomination's New York Area has been invited to greet the pope at a 6 p.m. ecumenical meeting at St. Joseph Church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The meeting’s theme is "Christ, Our Hope for Unity."

In addition to Park, two other United Methodists are scheduled to attend the ecumenical meeting: United Methodist Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of the Greater New Jersey Area and the Rev. W. Douglas Mills, a staff executive of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns.

The event is hosted by Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York.

Mills was part of a Commission on Christian Unity delegation that exchanged greetings with the pontiff during an outdoor public audience with Pope Benedict XVI in April 2006. The delegation also met with Cardinal Walter Kasper and the staff of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to discuss future relations between the denomination and the Roman Catholic Church.

Mills said he hopes the pope will take further actions to promote Christian unity. "Being in New York and receiving ecumenical guests is a step in the right direction," he said.

Bishop Jeremiah Park

The itinerary for Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States begins with his arrival on April 15 at Andrews Air Force Base, where he will be greeted by President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

The next morning, he will participate in a welcoming ceremony on the south lawn of the White House before meeting privately with the president. This is only the second time a pontiff has visited the White House.

Other Washington events include a private prayer service and meeting with the 350 U.S. Catholic bishops on April 16 and Mass at the new Nationals baseball park at 10 a.m. on April 17, followed that evening by an address on Catholic education at Catholic University of America and a meeting with representatives of various religions.

When the pope arrives in New York on April 18, he will address the United Nations at 10:45 a.m. and visit a synagogue shortly before the ecumenical meeting in the early evening. He is scheduled to meet with various Catholic groups on April 19 and visit ground zero on the morning of April 20 before arriving at Yankee Stadium for a 2:30 p.m. Mass.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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U.S. Papal Visit

Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns

Pontifical Council/Christian Unity

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