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Honoring a Legacy of Peace in Vienna

Austria-2010-06-06-Honoring a Legacy of Peace in Vienna

Vienna, Austria - The Memorial Festival of Ascension and Unity was held in Vienna on June 6 at the Headquarters of the Unification Movement of Austria. The photographs of the people who were honored were arranged beautifully on the decorated stage. They included four statesmen representing the international community:

  • Alexander Haig, Former US Secretary of State and NATO Commander
  • Kim Dae-Jung, Former President of South Korea
  • Abdurraham Wahid, Former President of Indonesia
  • Steingrimur Hermannsson, Former Prime Minister of Iceland

Among the Austrian dignitaries whose lives were connected to the Unification Movement in their endeavor for building peace, the following persons were chosen:

  • Prof. Dr. Leo Gabriel, a Christian philosopher
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Higatsberger, a physicist who was very involved in the International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences
  • Bishop Rudolf Hammer, a former Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church
  • Dr. Assadullah Baha, an interreligious educator
  • Dr. Hamed Mahmoud Shlash, a Palestinian diplomat
  • Dr. Wilfried Lefford, a lawyer

Peter Haider, President of UPF-Austria, led the program. He gave a basic explanation about the meaning of celebration of ascension and unity and introduced the special achievements of the dignitaries who had passed to the spirit world. After songs and a film about the ceremony in the UN in New York, Herbert Wolf gave the presentation on “Resurrection, Unity and Harmony,” going into more details about the meaning of life in the physical and spiritual worlds.

While a short biography was read, a rose was placed in front of the photograph of each person being honored at this occasion by a relative or a close associate. To conclude this part of the ceremony Elder Reuben Silverbird played flute music for a time of meditation, which was followed by a prayer and appropriate words by Dr. Mohammed Tigani, a Muslim.

Dr. Leo Gabriel's son expressed his appreciation to the Unification movement for giving special attention to the importance of family ties even beyond the moment of death, connecting in this way the past with the present. Expressing his grateful heart, he gave the book Integral Logic – The Truth of the Whole, which was the magnum opus of his father, as a gift to Peter Haider and the UPF in Austria.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon's keynote speech for the occasion was read by Rev. Peter Zöhrer, President of the Family Federation of Austria. Everybody listened attentively to the content. Some were especially fascinated by the proclamation of January 13, 2013 as being the starting point of a new history, and others by the explanation of death being a new birth and consequently a joyful occasion. Then Nora Waldmann sang the Christian hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”

Finally, Elisabeth Cook talked about the exemplary dedication of Rev. and Mrs. Moon to God’s will and the building of His Kingdom by practicing a heart of forgiveness and true love. After the cake was cut by Mrs. Shlash and her son, the official program was closed.

A hundred and twenty people attended the celebration, among them Ambassadors for Peace and relatives of the people who were honored. During lunch, several guests whose relatives had been included in the ceremony expressed their gratitude for this celebration. The wife of one Ambassador for Peace said, “Finally the pain I felt over the death of my husband has given way to the feeling of joy and hope!” Several said, “When I go to the spirit world, can you arrange such a celebration for me too?”