CardinalDolan&BanKiMoonThe traditional prayer service, hosted by the Archdiocese of New York, ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, was held this evening at the Church of The Holy Family in NYC. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, and Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, were joined by numerous diplomats, religious leaders and members of the community.

“The world’s religions share the common values of peace and human dignity for all. These are also the goals of the United Nations. I count on people of faith to be bridges—from one religion to another, from one community to another, and from the present to the future—we want. I count on you to help us narrow the gaps between the world as it is and the world as we know it can be. That is our privilege and obligation, yours and mine together.” Ban Ki-Moon September 16, 2013

PrayerServiceVucJeremic“We are praying together…for peace in Syria, and we are praying for all those who understand that peace can not come about from more war, that their voices will be heard loud and clear from the United Nations all the way to the land that is so holy.” Vuc Jeremic, President of the Sixty-Seventh Session of the General Assembly

Analysis: For some government leaders, guided by selfish interests, peace and stability are not really the goal. Instead, a world in constant conflict, where might equals right, presents a greater opportunity.

Often times revolutionaries, rebels and innovators are at odds with nature. The challenge is to move them to seek the truth and embrace the common good, freely, before they do any more harm to society.

The UN’s goals for a prosperous and sustainable world, and defense of human rights, can be undermined by member’s misguided activism. If religious leaders are faithful—to truth and love—they can be indispensable guides (and bridges) for sustainable living.

Photographs: Stephen Wise