White House declares National Day of Prayer for hurricane victims; Church groups applaud

.- As the world continues to watch the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina--which devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast--unfold, President George Bush has declared Friday, September 16th as a national day of prayer and remembrance for victims of the tragedy.

The president said yesterday that, “I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services and other appropriate observances. I also encourage all Americans to remember those who have suffered in the disaster by offering prayers and giving their hearts and homes for those who now, more than ever, need our compassion and our support.”

Many religious groups are applauding the announcement, including the National Clergy Council, who has been encouraging Bush to make the declaration since last week.

Rev. Rob Schenck, head of the group, which represents leaders of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches around the country, said that "Americans are overwhelmingly people of prayer and it is prayer that will get us through the worst of circumstances.”

He added that “The President is once again exercising the highest form of leadership by uniting the American people on the deepest level of our common life."

President Bush added that he wished to “offer thanks to God for the goodness and generosity of so many Americans who have come together to provide relief and bring hope to fellow citizens in need.”

“Our Nation”, he said, “is united in compassion for the victims and in resolve to overcome the tremendous loss that has come to America. We will strive together in this effort, and we will prevail through perseverance and prayer.”


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