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Palau's CityFest Makes Its Mark on the Big Apple


NEW YORK – At least 60,000 people braved the July heat and united in Manhattan's Central Park this weekend for CityFest, evangelist Luis Palau's latest "Good News" crusade.

It was the largest Christian gathering the park has seen in nearly 15 years.

"I have heard pastors, scores of them, come up to me and say, 'Palau, you don't realize what you and your team have done for New York City,'" Palau told CBN News.

Palau and his team spent three years pulling more than 1,700 New York churches together to pray and to serve the city's poorest people, schools, and communities.

The work earned the respect of the city's mayor and attention from some of its most honored athletes, such as former New York Yankees Daryl Strawberry and five-time World Series champ Mariano Rivera.

"I have to speak about the wonders of the Lord in my life. Therefore, I have to share that with everyone who wants to hear it," Rivera said.

At 80 years old, Palau preached his first message of hope, restoration, and salvation on the park's great lawn.

He was inspired by his mentor, Rev. Billy Graham, who was the last minister to deliver a sermon in the park in 1991. Long Island resident Dianne Suber was in that crowd of 250,000. This weekend was her first time back in the park.

"I hope more than anything else that people embrace Jesus Christ, that they embrace the truth, and that they live it," she said. "Because we are living in a time that is scary for a lot of people and I don't want to see the fear; I want to see the faith."

The six-hour Saturday celebration in Central Park wasn't Palau's first massive gathering in the Big Apple in recent weeks. He's pretty much lived in the city for the last two months and hosted dozens of services, from Queens to Manhattan and throughout the five boroughs.

Palau's team took over Times Square Friday with a message in music from Christian artists, such as Mandisa and TobyMac.

"When people listen to music, they often don't realize what they are listening to," Madisa told CBN News. "I feel like, if we can take music and redeem it and use it, it is just another tool that God can use to draw people to Him."

TobyMac said, "I don't think you can have a revival without music. I think music plays a huge role from the beginning in the Bible to today."

A revival in New York City is what the newly united churches are praying for – and for God to guide the city's leadership.

"I think the body is revived and when you see God moving miraculously in the lives of your family and friends," Palau's son Andrew said. "It revives you and enthusiasm grows and confidence in the Gospel and we expect it to be a revival time in the city."

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