Peace Fair features discussions, songs & prayer

September 18, 2011 by

Patrick Sieben teaches Peace Fair participants the words to "A Little Piece of the Peace" Sunday afternoon at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

It was a peaceful day at the Nazareth Motherhouse today (Sunday) as discussions, songs and prayer filled rooms throughout the building in celebration of the International Day of Peace.

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2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the commemoration established by the United Nations, explained Sister Esther Pineda, director of the Justice and Peace Center in Salina and one of the major organizers of Sunday’s Peace Fair. So it seemed appropriate, she said, to look at a broad range of issues that have peace and nonviolence at their core. Those topics ranged from telling the children taking part how they can write letters or emails to “pen pals” around the world to the 2010 documentary “The Forgotten Bomb” and a discussion of nuclear proliferation.

The afternoon’s program was sponsored by the Justice and Peace Center, which is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia; Pax Christi of Salina; and the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.

The Year of Peace, in fact, was a prominent part of the afternoon’s program. Patrick Sieben, Cloud County Community College music director and a member of the Year of Peace Committee, helped get the activities started by teaching the audience the words to “A Little Piece of the Peace,” which he wrote as part of launching the Year of Peace idea in September 2009.

There was also a breakout session where other Year of Peace committee members — including Sue Sutton and Sisters Jean Rosemarynoski, Julie Christensen, Anna Marie Broxterman and Mary Jo Thummel — talked about all the various projects over the past two years and the impact they have had on Concordia.

In another breakout session, Janet Hansen of Pax Christi Salina showed a 16-minute clip of “The Forgotten Bomb,” which looks at the damage done by the nuclear blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, and at nuclear weapons today. Hansen then led a discussion on the impact nuclear proliferation continues to have worldwide.

In the third breakout session, Phil Holman-Hebert, who owns and operates Sweetlove Farm in Oskaloosa, Kan., discussed “Peace in Family Life” and what he and his family have done to live without damaging the environment.

Meanwhile, the children taking part had a chance to create miniature “Peace Poles,” decorated with the words “May peace prevail around the world” in different languages. Sister Carm Thibault of Salina organized the crafts project.

Sieben and Sarah Harvey also led the children in a number of songs, while Sister Regina Ann Brummel and Janet Lander assisted.

The formal activities ended with a Peace Walk to Lourdes Park, on the Motherhouse grounds, where five monks from the Buddhist Temple of Salina chanted their prayers. After walking along the circular paths of the park, the participants paused in prayer or reflection as the monks completed their chanting.

The afternoon ended with an ice cream social in the Motherhouse dining room, hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The Motherhouse has hosted International Day of Peace ceremonies for the past few years, but this is the first year for a “Peace Fair” involving the entire family, said Sister Esther.

The theme of the day may have been a poem quoted by Janet Hansen as the program opened. By Lao Tzu and written sometime around 500 B.C., it says:

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

The United Nations established the International Day of Peace in 1981, and the first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982. Since 2002, it has been observed on Sept. 21, which the U.N. has declared as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.


One Response to “Peace Fair features discussions, songs & prayer”

  1. Elizabeth (Betsy Gasperich) Miller on September 25th, 2011 4:09 pm

    How wonderful……….I posted this on my facebook page so that others and see what wonderful activities are happening with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas……I DO SALUTE YOU, SISTERS!

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