Christians and other faith groups are being invited to pray for peace at a specially-organised cathedral vigil on Saturday (15 September) after the wave of terrorist attacks on the USA. The deans of Portsmouth's Roman Catholic and Anglican cathedrals organised the vigil of prayer for the whole city and for people of all faiths to help them come to terms with Tuesday's horrific events. The half-hour event will take place at 7pm in Portsmouth's Anglican cathedral, in Old Portsmouth - shortly after Roman Catholic and Anglican worshippers from the two cathedrals return from a two-day joint pilgrimage to Walsingham, Norfolk, led by the two deans, during which they had already planned to pray for peace. Church of England clergy and headteachers in the Portsmouth diocese - which stretches from Petersfield to the Isle of Wight - have been offered prayers and outlines of services which can be used in Anglican churches and schools over the next few days. Others are also welcome to use them. They can be found on www.bishports.clara.net Both Portsmouth's Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops spoke of their shock at the callous disregard shown for human life shown by the perpetrators of the attacks. The Rt Rev Kenneth Stevenson, Anglican bishop of Portsmouth, said: "Like others around the world, it was with disbelief that I watched the events in New York and Washington unfold. This is a tragedy on an unprecedented scale which goes beyond the bounds of our worst fears. "Today and over the coming weeks, our prayers will be for the people of the United States, for those who have lost loved ones and for the injured.' And Bishop Crispian Hollis, the Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, said: "It is at times like this that we all feel particularly helpless and all we can do - and the best we can do - is to turn to the Lord of compassion and love. "Before God, we remember those who have died, their families and all those who mourn. We pray for the American people that they may be sustained through the tragedy they have suffered and we pledge ourselves to stand alongside them in any way we can.' The dean of Portsmouth's Anglican Cathedral, the Very Rev William Taylor, who has worked with faith communities in the Middle East, demonstrated his concern for the Muslim community yesterday, by attending prayers at a local mosque. He issued a joint statement with the dean of Portsmouth's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Canon David Hopgood. It read: 'Our two cathedrals remain open from morning to evening for people to call into for prayer and quiet reflection. 'Both cathedrals contain lighted candles for peace. Our two communities continue to pray for peace throughout the world. Our sympathy and prayers are with the injured and bereaved at this time.' One of the prayers used by the Anglican bishop of Portsmouth yesterday was: God of perfect peace, Violence and cruelty have no part with you. Hear our prayers for the peace of the world. May we hold fast to good And reject all that is contrary to the Gospel. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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