World Peace Day, an initiative of the United Nations, is observed every year on September 21st.
This year at St Chrysostom’s we marked #peaceday in a special way, because of the terrible situations of war throughout the world at present, especially in the Middle East.
Bishop David began our preparations by decorating a peace dove at Church and children of St Chrysostom’s School followed his lead and produced a wonderful variety of hundreds of peace doves. People from church have joined in decorating the paper doves too.
The doves hung outside the church and along the main road to encourage those who pass by to pause and reflect on the need for peace in our world. They made a wonderful, eye catching and thought provoking display.
A simple board announced their purpose for World Peace Day, and the fact that they had been made by hundreds of children of different faiths – working together to show their longing for a better world where people of difference can live together in peace and celebration of diversity, as the children do in our local school.
The doves hang inside the church too as we bring our community’s aspirations for peace into their parish church – God’s House.
On the day itself a special Mass for Peace was offered. At the end, just before we sang the Angelus, we paused for a minute of silence in solidarity with the many peoples of the world who were pausing around midday to hold a moment of peace. We held in our thoughts and prayers those living in areas of the world where there is little peace, and those among us whose lives are far from peaceful.
Small gestures, yes, but significant ones too.
As they decorated their doves, the children were reminded that each of us can take steps on the journey to peace, and we can share peace with one another. It is our prayer that these small steps will help us all focus on our contribution for peace and strengthen our vision for world peace.
A prayer of Eric Milner White, we prayed together at Mass:
Lord God, who would fold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design
of your great love shine on the waste of our angers and sorrows, and give
peace to your Church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.