The Rev. Silvester Beaman, the pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware, who will deliver the benediction at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony next Wednesday, says he’s confident the president-elect will “seek after the heart of God” to lead the country.
“This final blessing over the event is God’s opportunity to cover the nation in grace as we launch the Biden-Harris administration. I personally know that President Biden will seek after the heart of God, it has been his lifestyle over the years. In his toughest moments it has been the light of God’s love that has guided and sustained him,” Beaman said in a statement on Facebook Thursday.
The pastor, who has known the Biden family for nearly 30 years and is a close confidante and friend of the president-elect, hosted Biden at his church in the summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd where he met with parishioners and black community leaders to discuss racism and police brutality.
Beaman called his invitation to deliver the benediction at Biden’s inauguration “an extreme honor” and said he believes that Biden, who is Catholic, “will be seeking God’s grace daily.”
“It is an extreme honor and seminal moment to have been asked by President-elect Joseph R. Biden to pronounce the benediction during the 59th Inaugural Celebration in our Nation’s Capital, January 20, 2021,” he said. “There is nothing more strenuous or crucial than being the leader of the free world. Therefore he will be seeking God’s grace daily.”
Another of Biden’s longtime friends, Fr. Leo J. O’Donovan, an American Jesuit Catholic priest and theologian who served as the 44th President of Georgetown University, will also deliver the invocation.
O’Donovan told the National Catholic Reporter that Biden called him personally to invite him to pray at the inauguration of only America’s second Catholic president and he accepted. The Jesuit priest presided over the funeral mass for Biden’s oldest son, Beau, after he died of brain cancer at the age of 46 in 2015.
Others who will be involved in Biden’s inauguration include Lady Gaga, who will sing the national anthem, and Jennifer Lopez, who will deliver a musical performance.