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|Day of Peace Commemorated with a Vigil in Monza|
Monza, Italy - For the eighth consecutive year, UPF promoted an an interfaith prayer vigil in the square in front of the Monza Town Hall on the International Day of Peace, September 21. The event had the support and patronage of the Municipality and the Province of Monza Brianza.
A large audience welcomed the warm words of introduction by the Mayor of the city. The event, as in previous years, was conducted by Carlo Chierico, who called to the microphone representatives of various faiths and communities who offered the audience a reflection, a prayer, or a sacred melody, as a spiritual support for peace in the world.
Continuing the path of dialogue and interreligious cooperation, the representatives of the different religions proposed contributions to the development of peace and promotion of human rights. Among the many people, both religious and lay, who made a significant contribution to the success of the evening were a group of Buddhist monks and a delegation of the Indian community of the Sikh faith. Alberto Zoffili, President of UPF-Milan, read an excerpt from the autobiography of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean religious leader who founded the Universal Peace Federation.
The large audience was deeply moved by the speeches and the ceremonies offered by the religious representatives. This joint ceremony has developed over the years; the growing success of this vigil demonstrates that diversity does not necessarily constitute a reason for conflict, but if the approach to other faiths is based on mutual respect it can constitute a source of integration, enrichment, and inspiration for everyone to cooperate and act for the common good.
The invitation coming from the religious representative to all the participants was to be an active part in this process; it was an urge to everyone to find a personal way to help, starting with a simple gesture of peace in their own environment.
Just talking about peace is important, as was said by one of the participants, but the word "peace" does not have a static, almost passive, meaning; on the contrary, as the Rev. Tonino Bello said, "Before being a goal, peace is a journey, an upward climb."
The vigil, which lasted about one hour and a half, ended with the lighting of a large brazier on the side of the platform; participants held white candles as a further symbol of sharing and peace.
For more reports about International Day of Peace 2012 programs click here.