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Religious Leaders Celebrate International Day of Peace in St. Lucia

Castries, St. Lucia – On the occasion of the UN International Day of Peace, September 21, 2023, UPF-St. Lucia held a webinar with the nation’s main religious leaders, on the theme “God and the Family – The Foundation of Peace in the Nation.” Parliamentary Commissioner Dr. Rosemarie Mathurin served as the moderator.

Mr. Remy Taupier, director of UPF-St. Lucia, explained in his opening remarks that the United Nations’ theme for this day in 2023 is “Actions for Peace: Our Ambition for the #GlobalGoals.” He quoted UN Secretary-General António Guterres as saying, “Peace is needed today more than ever. War and conflict are unleashing devastation, poverty, and hunger, and driving tens of millions of people from their homes. Climate chaos is all around. And even peaceful countries are gripped by gaping inequalities and political polarization.”

Mr. Taupier remarked that among the 17 UN Global Goals, more than half cannot be reached without improving people’s character. The place where character is formed is in the family, which is the first school of love and peace, he said.

Archbishop Gabriel Malzaire, the archbishop of Castries, read several excerpts from a message given by Pope John-Paul II on the World Day of Peace 1994. He commented, “Founded on love and open to the gift of life, the family contains in itself the very future of society; its most special task is to contribute effectively to a future of peace. This it will achieve…through the efforts of parents to carry out properly their task as educators, committed to training their children to respect the dignity of every person and the values of peace.”

He continued, “The domestic virtues, based upon a profound respect for human life and dignity, and practiced in understanding, patience, mutual encouragement, and forgiveness, enable the community of the family to live out the first and fundamental experience of peace.” The family is therefore called to become an active agent for peace, he said, through the values which it expresses and transmits, and through the participation of each of its members in the life of society.

Rev. Christian Glasgow, archdeacon of the Anglican Church, affirmed that the family is the premier institution of socialization, not only for children, but also for parents, who continue to improve their character through raising children. He stressed the importance of worshipping together as a family at home or at church. Worship has two dimensions, he said: It’s directed toward God with praise and thanksgiving, but it is also directed toward people, reminding us to love people and the Creation as God loves them.

Pastor Roger Stephen, president of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, pointed out that every human being has the ability and desire to love God and love his fellow men. If in the family there is a good model, a positive impression will be made upon the children and the next generation. Parents must be diligent and intentional in teaching their children about the God of love and the God of peace, he said, and cannot leave it to chance.

Pastor Tui Smith, superintendent of the Methodist Church, said that God gave two gifts to humankind, the rest of Sabbath and the institution of the family. The family is the most important institution to keep peace in the community, he said, especially now when we see a disintegration of values in the community.

Pastor Vernon Stephen, pastor of Solid Rock Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, said that there is a lot of confusion in society; wrong things are no longer considered wrong and things that were considered right are now opposed. That is why it is more important than ever for families to pray together, and stay together. Without God, there is no peace in the family, he said.

The moderator summarized each panelist’s presentation, and concluded with the thought that individuals who recognize that they are the image of God are best prepared to form loving couples and stable families.

By Remy Taupier, Director, UPF-St. Lucia
September 21, 2023


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