It’s beginning to look like a Latino inauguration is the theme for President Obama’s second term, as Father Luis Leon joins poet Richard Blanco, the first Hispanic, first gay and youngest poet to take part in the inauguration and Sonia Sotomayor, who will administer the oath of office to Vice President Joe Biden.
Leon, who preaches at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C., will deliver the closing prayer for Obama’s inauguration on Monday.
“I was honored to be asked,” Leon told CNN.
He also delivered the opening prayer for President George W. Bush’s second inauguration, according to Alabama Media Group, and is rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, the congregation presidents most frequently attend.
Leon is replacing Rev. Louie Giglio, an evangelical pastor, because of the release of an anti-gay sermon he gave in the 90′s on the ”aggressive agenda” of the gay community, where he said gays could change their sexual orientation “through the healing power of Jesus.”
In contrast, Leon’s congregation has been welcoming to openly gay members. The church, which has openly gay, non-celibate priests and has had a gay bishop, announced this summer that it would bless same-sex partnerships and ordain transgender priests, according to the Huffington Post.
His goal, Leon said, is to offer a prayer to help bring people together.
“I think when we’re asking a blessing for this country, we’re asking for God to lift us up, to lift up what’s good in us,” he said.
“To remind us of what’s good in us and remind us to do what’s proper, what’s the good, the right thing for the country.”