May peace prevail on Earth

By The Beacon | November 14, 2012 9:00pm

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International Student Services offers prayers for peace during International Education Week

(Jackie Jeffers | THE BEACON)

By Amanda Munro, Staff Writer munroa15@up.edu

May peace prevail on Earth. Twenty-five or so people gathered in a circle by the International Peace Garden Tuesday. Some students, some faculty and some community members, they stood solemnly by the colorful flags outside Buckley Center Auditorium to offer their prayers for peace in any tongue they knew best.

They spoke a total of 13 languages, 13 prayers uttered in Filipino, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Taiwanese, English, Italian, Samoan, Turkish, German, Vietnamese, Spanish and Kiswahili. It was a cacophony of cultures, languages and worldviews swept up into one circle for twenty minutes of stillness and unity. Every person spoke each prayer in a different language with different syllables, but every person in the circle knew exactly what it was they were saying.

"Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe. Peace. Peace. Peace."

Although consistent jarring noises from the nearby library construction made it difficult to hear throughout the ceremony, the prayers for peace continued without hesitation. After each prayer, the congregation repeated "May peace prevail on Earth," and the unified voices carried loud and clear over the screeching sound of machinery.

After each prayer was finished, there was a moment of silence.

Fr. Gary Chamberland made the closing remarks.

"We gather, believers of many traditions and many faiths praying for peace, true peace, which is not won by war; it is won in each and every human heart," Chamberland said. "Lao Tsu, a Chinese philosopher wrote, 'If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the city, there must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.'"

Despite the noise and the distractions, by the solemn nods of everyone congregated it was clear that "peace in the heart" didn't seem so far away. In those few moments standing in a unified circle as citizens of the world, a glimmer of hope emerged.

"We gathered today to pray for peace. We gathered as members of one community, as members of the world's community," Chamberland said. "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."


Sister Mary Kimario (left) speaks her part of the prayer in Swahili. The prayer was spoken in 13 different languages. (Jackie Jeffers | THE BEACON)

(Jackie Jeffers | THE BEACON)

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