Symphony of Peace Prayers 2017 at Peace Center in Lahore

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Symphony of Peace Prayers 2017 at Peace Center in Lahore
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A groups of over 150 dedicated Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs gathered at Peace Center Lahore on 17th of May, 2017 to offer prayers for the world peace and especially for those countries which are confronted with war, terrorism, violence and hatred. We believe that prayers are very powerful expression of our submission to God and that we seek his mercy and blessings for us and the world around us. God hears our prayers when said from the heart and with deep conviction and that God grants us peace, harmony and joy in our hearts, families and countries.

This program called Symphony of Peace Prayers was jointly organized by the Peace Center and URI Pakistan. Although the weather was very hot, over 100 centigrade, these people thronged to offer prayers for world peace. All prayed according to their own religions. Fr Roccus Patras OP read a passage from the Holy Bible, Allama Masood Qasim Qasi recited from the Holy Quran, Pandat Lal Khokhar (Hindu priest) read a passage from the Bagwadgita and Sardar Akash Sing (Sikh) from Guru Garanth Sahib. This ceremony was an inspiration and in solidarity with the Symphony of Peace Prayers which is celebrated at Fuji Sanctuary, which is at the foot of the legendary Fuji Mountain, in Japan. Fr. James Channan OP Director of Peace Center Lahore and National Coordinator of URI Pakistan along with Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, Grand Imam of Badshahi Mosque Lahore have been honored to be in that SOPP twice in Japan. 

Fr James welcomed all the guests to the prayer event and presented the history of the SOPP and the collaboration of Peace Center and URI Pakistan. He highly admired the vision and dream of Mrs. Masami Saionji, Chairperson of World Peace Prayer Society and Goi Peace Foundation for presenting this idea of SOPP to the whole world and how such a marvelous gathering takes place at Fuji Sanctuary where thousands of peace loving people from various religions gather and offer prayers according to their own respective religions. He also mentioned how honored he was to have been invited twice together with Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad to represent the Christianity and Islam in the international celebration of SOPP in Japan.  He expressed confidence that certainly our prayers for the world peace will bring forth a lot of positive results in our world which is faced with many challenges and issues right now.  He said there are many challenges and hardships to continue the work of peace but it should be our prime responsibility. We must all create avenue to promote peace and interfaith harmony in the world. He also recalled the Day of Peace and Prayers which was initiated by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1986 in  Assisi, Italy in which representative of all major religions were invited to  observe a day of prayer. In the beautifully decorated hall of Peace Center, the representatives of various religions looked like colorful flowers in a bouquet. 

The Dominican students sung a song to deliver a message of peace and love to the whole world. Ms. Tasneem Saeed read the message of Mrs. Masami Saionji from Japan which was addressed to Fr James, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, Ms. Sabina Rifat and all participants. In her message, Mrs. Masami highly admired and paid rich tribute to the efforts of fr James and Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad.

Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad congratulated Fr. James for organizing such thoughtful event and also expressed joy at the large number of participants. He recounted the long history of their collaboration in interreligious dialogue and peace building and he also recounted their join participation at the SOPP events at Tokyo and Fuji Sanctuary, Japan. Mr. Sohail Ahmad Raza, an interfaith leader and Coordinator of Minaj-ul-Quran University also commended the event. Believing strongly that God will answer the prayers for peace, he renewed his organizations commitment to interfaith dialogue. All the other religious leaders present expressed optimism in the event and interfaith dialogue in general

A young leader, Mr. Shahbaz Khan led the reading of the famous prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, “Make me a Channel of Peace” along with 17 URI Coordinators. It was so moving to observe that all Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikh said this prayer all together.  

Towards the end of the program, the participants were handed flags of different countries and were asked to pray for that particular country. This flag ceremony created an atmosphere of great jubilation and peaceful coexistence

Fr James Channan OP, Director, Peace Center, Lahore, Pakistan.

 

(26 May 2017)