Praying with the Religions of the World

Next, Yuka Saionji introduced the ceremony’s first core program, Praying with the Religions of the World. This program brings together prayer leaders from different faiths and spiritual traditions to lead participants in prayers for peace from their own traditions. It is a show of interfaith harmony and unity that powerfully demonstrates what a world at peace looks like.

This year, each prayer leader recorded their prayer in advance, in their place of worship or at home. Participants were invited to follow along with the prayers in their program guides, either in Japanese or English.


Fr. Rocco Viviano (Christianity—Catholicism)
Interreligious Dialogue Coordinator at Xaverian Missionaries

Spoken by Fr. Viviano in English

God our Father, you created all things and, out of your infinite love, you made man and woman in your image and likeness, giving them the ability to love as you love them. We thank you and pray for the gift of true peace.
Despite differences in culture, language, and religion, all peoples are one single community, because you, Father, made the whole human race to dwell all over the earth. Your Providence, goodness and plan of salvation extend to all, and it is your desire that, at the end of time, all may be gathered in your presence, in your Kingdom, where the nations will walk in your light.
When individuals, communities, and nations, focusing only on their own interests, become self-centered, and unable to see the needs of other persons, communities and nations, they forget that we are all members of one family, and indifference soon turns into suspicion and fear, and peace is lost.
Your son, Jesus Christ, taught us that we are all brothers and sisters, because we are united by your love for all your children. Jesus showed us the way to protect your gift of peace, and make it flourish in the world. Through words and example, he taught that the secret of life is to love others, and that true love is prepared even to die for those we love.
Father, give us true peace, especially in times like these, when a serious new disease threatening all human life has forced people everywhere to withdraw into isolation, to escape an invisible enemy, and has brought nations to a standstill.
As we protect ourselves from the risk of contagion, help us to do everything we can to protect others, too. Turn our hearts to one another, especially those who are helpless. Enlighten us so that we do not let fear make us see others as a threat to our lives, but as brothers and sisters, entrusted to us by you.
Father, heal the world from all diseases, but above all from hatred, self-interest and indifference, and kindle in us the ability to love, that you have planted in our hearts.
We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Spoken by all participants in English

Grant us your peace, O Lord;
May it fill all our days. (repeated three times)


Mr. Mark N. Zion (Judaism)
Associate Professor at Tama University, Japan

Spoken by Mr. Zion in Hebrew

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures: He leads me to water in places of repose;
He renews my life; He guides me in the right paths, as befits His name.
Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness
I fear no harm, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in full view of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant.
Only goodness and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for many years.

Sung by all participants in Hebrew

I have set Hashem always before me.
I have set YudHeahWevHeah always before me.
With Eternal Love You Have Loved Us!
With Eternal Love!


Imam Muhammed Rasit Alas (Islam)
Imam at Tokyo Camii (Mosque) and Turkish Cultural Center

Sung by Imam Alas in Arabic

And remember when Job called to his Lord, “I have been touched with adversity, and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.”
The One who created me, and guides me. The One who feeds me, and waters me. And when I get sick, He heals me. The One who makes me die, and then revives me. The One who, I hope, will forgive my sins on the Day of the Reckoning. My Lord! Grant me wisdom, and include me with the righteous. And give me a reputation of truth among the others. And make me of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss.

 Spoken by all participants in Japanese

I pray that all the world’s people may live in peace and good health.


Mr. Daisuke Ogino (Shintoism)
Chief Priest at Samuhara Shrine

Spoken by Mr. Ogino in Japanese

I humbly bow down before the precious divinities who are here in the pure place, as they reside as divinities throughout heaven and earth. Since the beginning of the human world, we have been divided into nations and religions, but for us human beings, who have been blessed with life, our fundamental hope is for a world of peace and harmony.
Struggles and conflicts persist around the world, yet today, people who are deeply concerned and who pray strongly for peace are gathering around the world. Please listen to their ardent prayers for world peace.
From here on, please protect those who pray together and those who live in this world with the blessings of the divinities. Please guide and protect us, so that people of goodwill who come from different religions can cooperate to make peace, and humanity can create a tranquil world where people sincerely respect one another’s hearts and minds.

Spoken by all participants in Japanese

Cleanse and purify us.
Protect and bless us.


Mr. Shinjo Nohara (Buddhism)
Abbot of Soto-Shu Kaizozan Ryuunji Temple

Spoken by Mr. Nohara in Japanese

Heart Sutra
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, when deeply practicing prajna paramita, clearly saw that all five aggregates are empty and thus relieved all suffering.
Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form. Sensations, perceptions, formations, and consciousness are also like this. Shariputra, all dharmas are marked by emptiness; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease. Therefore, given emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of sight… no realm of mind consciousness. There is neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance… neither old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death; no suffering, no cause, no cessation, no path; no knowledge and no attainment. With nothing to attain, a bodhisattva relies on prajna paramita, and thus the mind is without hindrance. Without hindrance, there is no fear. Far beyond all inverted views, one realizes nirvana. All buddhas of past, present, and future rely on prajna paramita and thereby attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment. Therefore, know the prajna paramita as the great miraculous mantra, the great bright mantra, the supreme mantra, the incomparable mantra, which removes all suffering and is true, not false. Therefore we proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, the mantra that says: “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.”

Spoken by all participants in Sanskrit

Gone, gone, gone all the way over, everyone gone to the other shore. Welcome, enlightenment!

Spoken by all participants in Japanese

May this merit extend universally to all, so that we together with all beings realize the Buddha way.


Rev. Genzo Makino (Hinduism)
Hindu spiritual leader

Sung by Rev. Makino in Sanskrit

Oh Divine Mother,
our hearts are surrounded by darkness.
Please lead us away from this darkness
by nurturing the illumination within us.
Peace, Peace, Peace—Peace to the body, mind and soul.

Spoken by all participants in Sanskrit

May all the beings of all the worlds be blissful!
Peace, Peace, Peace—Peace to the body, mind and soul.


Lastly, Masami Saionji read an original poem titled “Creation of the Universe” and then led participants in the prayer May peace prevail on Earth.

Spoken by Mrs. Saionji in Japanese

Creation of the Universe
When we quiet our mind and pray, we feel the prayerful life of all living things.
Our prayers become the energy of love and healing, embracing the Earth, humanity, and all living things, and bringing all back to life.
The creation of a new planet Earth begins.
Even when human beings forget to pray, the earth, the seas,
the mountains, and all living things go on praying
For the time when humanity will awaken.
When we quiet our mind and pray, we feel the prayerful life of all living things.
Our prayers become light, illuminating the divinity in each and every human being.
At that time, the Earth, humanity, all life and all living things become one,
And a new symphony of life resonates with the Universe.

Spoken by all participants in Japanese

May peace prevail on Earth (repeated three times).


Following Mrs. Saionji’s prayer, a message appeared on screen asking participants to take a moment and let the energy of these prayers resonate out to the world, by closing their eyes and focusing their thoughts on sending out this prayer energy.

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