Across faiths and borders, the faces of prayer

Across faiths and borders, the faces of prayer

Blue sky and wispy clouds framed the outline of an ultra-Orthodox man of the Kiryat Sanz Hasidic sect on a hill in Israel during a Tashlich ceremony, in which Jews symbolically cast off their sins into a body of water, ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday.

Tibetan exiles in India threw fistfuls of barley flour into the air at an early morning gathering, chanting through face masks worn to guard against the coronavirus.

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People celebrate the festival of Maskel in Ethiopia on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, to commemorate the unearthing of the True Holy Cross of Christ. (AP Photo

Eyes closed in rapture, a Haitian migrant pressed a paperback bible to the crown of her head during a Mass at an improvised shelter in the Mexico-US border region where thousands of her compatriots recently arrived hoping to cross.

Images captured by Associated Press photographers around the world last month showed how prayer has diverse manifestations across faith traditions and human-drawn frontiers.

In Cuba, it took the face of a young girl kneeling in church before flickering candles for the country’s patron, the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, whose customary feast day procession was scrapped for a second year due to the pandemic.

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Pallbearers carry the coffin of actor Jean-Paul Belmondo at the Saint Germain des Près church, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 in Paris. (AP

In Lebanon, it was Muslim men standing shoulder-to-shoulder with heads bowed over prayer rugs at a gas station, where they demonstrated against severe fuel shortages amid a crippling economic crisis.

And in India, a woman clasped her hands to her face and bent in veneration before a cow, considered holy by Hindus, during the Teej festival marked by daylong fasting by women asking to find a good husband or for the longevity of an existing one.

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A woman worships a cow on Teej festival at the Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, in Prayagraj. (AP

Prayer was a central part of many observances of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, such as in Chicago, where uniformed firefighters standing in formation bowed their heads in solemn ceremony.

And at ground zero in New York, workers installed thin panels of marble on the dome of a rebuilt Greek Orthodox church, the only house of worship destroyed in the attacks, in preparation for a lighting and memorial service held days later, on the eve of the anniversary.

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Muslim worshippers pray during Friday prayers at a gas station to protest severe fuel shortages that Lebanon has been witnessing for weeks, in the coastal town of Jiyeh, south of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP

These and more are among the AP’s top faith-related images from the month.

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Across faiths and borders, the faces of prayer