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Interfaith Programs

Interfaith Prayer Vigil Held in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland - UPF-Ireland held a prayer vigil at the Lantern Centre in Dublin on Aug. 9, 2014. The event was decided upon within a very short time in collaboration with Ambassador for Peace Robert Samson to take a stand on the escalation of violence that is happening around the world.

In the recent weeks, particularly after the conflicts in the Middle East, there have been many demonstrations and rallies in Ireland and around the world defending one side or the other, each with convincing arguments for their cause.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

With this inspiration, representatives of different faiths were invited to meet and hold a prayer vigil to ask the Almighty God to touch the hearts of the decision-makers to end the cycle of violence.

The gathering was at the Lantern Center, an interfaith hospitality center in the heart of Dublin, on the evening of Aug. 9.

Representatives of Islam, the Church of Ireland, Sikh community, Catholics, Focolarini, various Christian denominations, Unificationists, Religious Society of Friends and Unitarian Church gathered in a circle. After a short presentation from UPF about the shocking reality of conflicts around the world and the importance of religious people in shaping society in the right direction, all representatives took turns and prayed in their own way for peace creating a growing sense of unity among everyone. It was very touching to hear all those voices in prayer. It was evidence that different traditions and beliefs are not an obstacle to create peace, because the universal values of heart and love are the very core of each faith; these core values make the difference in any person’s heart regardless of the faith they believe in.

Each one offered beautifully their unique prayer, some by singing, some reciting their traditional prayers, others by offering a spontaneous prayer, and still others simply expressing their desire for peace among all people. The final prayer was led by an inspired lady from a Christian group. Everyone stood up and joined hands for the benediction.

There were over 30 people, and all these prayers created a feeling of closeness and deep sense of unity among everyone. Recognizing that prayers must be followed by deeds, a declaration of peace was signed to start spreading the sense of unity created during the event among the neighbors:

We would like to propose to everyone to make a Pact of Mercy and Reciprocal Love that we start today when we shake each other's hands.

With this pact, we promise to put aside whatever wrongdoings others have done against us and instead to go ahead in building peace wherever we are by trying to love each and everyone around us through concrete acts of kindness.

By shaking each other's hands, we promise to live our lives for peace, most especially in places ravaged by wars and in all places threatened by any form of violence.

We invoke God's help to give us the extraordinary grace for everyone to have peace in their heart.

Appreciation was expressed for the help and support of Ambassador for Peace Robert Okere from Nigeria and the kind hospitality of the Lantern Centre Director Michael Murray.

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