In a world with more than 33,000 Christian denominations, it’s rare to see leaders of several of them gathered in one place to pray for unity. Yet that’s exactly what happened Jan. 20 at St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale. Leaders of the Arizona Faith Network and members of local congregations gathered for a prayer service during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical event held annually since 1908.
Driving through a neighborhood once years ago, I remember thinking that behind every door was a person with a story that ought to be told. I suppose part of that comes from being a pro-lifer: each human life is beloved by God who spilled His precious blood for all humanity — the rich and powerful, the poor and frail, the Hollywood starlet and the beggar on the corner. Each person’s life is unique and worthy of the Father’s love. Each person’s life tells a story.
Patty Chesebrough gazes inside the darkened church and stares up at a portrait of the late Fr. John Hanley, the priest who showed her God’s mercy in her darkest hour. It was 1990 and Chesebrough’s husband was pressuring her to have an abortion. She called her parish, St. Theresa at the time, and asked to speak with a priest.
St. Charbel, a humble Lebanese monk from the 19th century, has been credited with thousands of miracles since his death in 1898. Catholics from throughout the Valley descended on St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church to venerate this saint’s relics Jan. 15-17.