Archbishop of New York Timothy Michael Dolan speaks about a chair that will be used in Madison Square Garden for Pope Francis' papal Mass in New York on Sept. 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Cardinal Dolan, Paula White to take part in presidential inauguration

(RNS) For the first time in 40 years – since President Jimmy Carter took office in 1977 – a Catholic bishop will take part in a presidential inauguration.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, is among six faith leaders who will participate in the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Michael Pence, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Wednesday (Dec. 28).

"I am honored to have been asked to offer a reading from Scripture at the upcoming presidential inauguration and look forward to asking Almighty God to inspire and guide our new President and to continue to bless our great Nation," Dolan said in a statement.

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Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, will also take part — the first time since 1985 that a rabbi will offer prayers at the event.

The Rev. Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association also will offer readings and give the benediction at the ceremony.

Others offering readings and giving invocations at the ceremony include the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Paula White, who is pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center, chairwoman of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and the president-elect's longtime spiritual adviser, according to the committee.

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White and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International, who will give a benediction, also are the first prosperity gospel preachers in recent memory to take part in a presidential inauguration.

"I will be humbled to stand shoulder to shoulder on stage with the new administration, other distinguished men and women of faith, and with the great sea of witnesses watching around the country and around the world who continue to pray for God to bless America," White said in a statement.

"On that sacred day, we will ask God to guide our leaders with wisdom and strength and that He would richly bless our extraordinary home, the United States of America."

(David Gibson contributed to this report)