Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACE) and senior rabbi at the Park East Synagogue in New York has accepted Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to attend the Day of Reflection, Dialogue and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World -- in Assisi, Italy on October 27th. The gathering will mark the 25th Anniversary of the historic meeting convened by Pope John Paul II in 1986 which Rabbi Schneier attended.
In a recent Papal announcement, the Vatican declared: "On the day of the anniversary, 27 October this year, the Holy Father intends to hold a 'Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world', making a pilgrimage to the home of St. Francis and inviting fellow Christians from different denominations, representatives of the world's religious traditions and, in some sense, all men and women of good will, to join him once again on this journey."
Rabbi Schneier, who offered Pope Benedict XVI best wishes on the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, this past week, hosted the first ever visit by a Pope to a synagogue in the United States -- when Pope Benedict XVI visited Park East Synagogue on April 18, 2008. The pope commemorated his 60th anniversary as a priest with a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday.
A Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Schneir has now met Pope Benedict three times and has said that he considered the previous Pope, John Paul II, a friend. He was the first rabbi to be awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his work on interfaith dialogue.
He founded the ACE, an interfaith group that works for peace.
Benedict's April 2008 visit was his first to America as Pope. On that occasion, he stopped in Washington, D.C. to meet with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the president before heading to New York. Once in The Big Apple, he gave a service at Yankee Stadium for congregants and at the St. Patrick's Cathedral for clergy. He also visited ground zero.
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