The Rev. Luis León told CNN on Tuesday the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee invited him last week to deliver the closing prayer at the 57th Presidential Inauguration. León replaces the Rev. Louie Giglio, the Atlanta pastor who withdrew from the ceremony after audio surfaced of him delivering an anti-gay sermon in the mid-1990s.
León pastors Saint John’s Church, an Episcopal parish just across Lafayette Park from the White House. León immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1961 at age 12 as one of the “Peter Pan children,” according to his bio on the St. John’s Church website.
Leon’s own parish is known for welcoming 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. This month, the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church, announced that it would also begin same-sex marriage ceremonies.
León’s benediction will mark his second appearance on the inauguration stage. In 2005 he delivered the invocation for the President George W. Bush’s second inauguration.
León becomes the third Latino to officially participate in the swearing-in ceremonies. Earlier this month PIC announced Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco will be the 2013 inaugural poet. Also Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will administer the oath of office for Vice President Joe Biden.