'Father Oprah' delivers sermon

MIAMI - A popular Miami priest nicknamed "Father Oprah" said yesterday that "church is about forgiveness" during his first sermon since leaving the Roman Catholic Church after photographs surfaced of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie received a standing ovation after his sermon at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. Episcopal priests can marry, unlike their Catholic counterparts. It will take Cutie at least a year to be certified as an Episcopal priest.

Cutie has said his decision to switch was made over time, not since the photos in a magazine rocked South Florida's Spanish-speaking community, where he was known for his good looks and as the host of a TV show on relationships.

- AP

Backers of Israel celebrate in N.Y.

NEW YORK - Tens of thousands of supporters of Israel crowded New York's Fifth Avenue yesterday as part of the annual parade celebrating the birth of the Jewish state in 1948.

This year's parade also commemorated the centenary of the city of Tel Aviv. Ron Huldai, the city's mayor, was an honorary grand marshal and donned a pair of "100" eyeglasses.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson led off the parade, followed by floats blasting Israeli pop music and teenagers from yeshivas and Jewish day schools.

- AP