NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Christians around the world are mourning the victims of a deadly bombing in Egypt that targeted two churches on Palm Sunday.
Christian prayers for Palm Sunday were chanted in Arabic at the Virgin Mary and Saint Demiana Coptic Orthodox Church church in White Plains, as parishioners remembered those who were lost after bombs tore through two Egyptian churches in different cities, killing at least 37 people and wounding around 100 others.
Deacon Sam Atallah said hatred is being taught, and it needs to be stopped, WCBS 880’s John Metaxas reported.
“It needs to be addressed on a very high level,” Atallah said. “What’s right now happening…the silence that’s taking place now all over the world…there’s no very tough stand against this very extreme thinking — I don’t think that’s right.”
Atallah said Christians in America can safely pray on Palm Sunday — but that’s not true in other places around the world.
“I think the U.N. and the U.S., and Europe, and everybody, should stand together,” Atallah said.
In Manhattan, worshippers poured into St. Patrick’s Cathedral for mass, and reflected on the attack overseas.
“I don’t know how any human being could kill or destroy anybody, especially in church,” John, of Garden City, told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.
“Whether it’s a Catholic church, or it’s the poor folks in Syria — that what we’re doing to each other is absolutely unbelievable,” another churchgoer said.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan focused on the symbolism of the event.
“You know what it is — the Crucifixion of Christ continues,” Dolan said, adding that whenever there is oppression or injustice, Jesus is crucified again.
“If you see the hope and the resilience of the coptic people that are here with us now in New York after all they’ve been through — their faith won’t let them down,” Dolan said. “Their hope will not flag.”
At the Vatican, Pope Francis decried the bombings, expressing “deep condolences to my brother, Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic church and all of the dear Egyptian nation.” Word of the attacks came as Francis himself was marking Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.
Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar — the leading center of learning in Sunni Islam — likewise condemned the attacks, calling them a “despicable terrorist bombing that targeted the lives of innocents.”
Palm Sunday focuses on Jesus’ last days before he was crucified. The day is significant because it represents the beginning of Holy Week, ending with Easter Sunday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)