4 events: Germignaga, Potenza, Ragusa, Tolentino
Germignaga, Italy: report by Maria Caterina Putignano
An SOPP ceremony was held this year in Germingnaga, near the Swiss border, and was a great success. It was a very beautiful ceremony, with close to 200 participants of all ages. The ceremony started outside, near the famous Lake Maggiore, such a beautiful place for the SOPP. It opened with the beautiful vibrations of crystal bowls, followed by the ‘concert’ of voices of the prayer leaders, which emanated beautifully and truthfully from the heart! The rhythm of the prayers held the attention of the participants. My own role was to read the message from Masami Saionji.
When the prayer ceremony for peace in each country began, we had to gather inside a nearby hall because of heavy rain. The flag presentation was led by a local Boy Scout group, and we found ourselves gathered around the stage feeling united in the prayer as one body and one voice, with a big heart. After the flag ceremony, an eight-sided wooden peace pole, made by the same Boy Scout group and carrying the message May peace prevail on Earth in eight different languages, was dedicated in a beautiful spot near the lake, facing the Alps. It was a true gift.
Our gratitude goes out to the local Boy Scouts who planned this ceremony and welcomed participants as they arrived—they were the true champions of this event. Our deep gratitude also goes out also to the several associations that helped out behind the scenes.
A video showing photos of the ceremony can be viewed at http://youtu.be/xmbLigVNv_s.
Potenza, Italy: report by Maria Caterina Putignano
In Potenza, we raised the flags amidst the rain (and a beautiful sun that smiled once in a while). 200 primary school students and teachers organized and took part in this ceremony. A group of 11 students created an interfaith circle, reading prayers from different religious traditions. For a whole year, under the direction of their teachers, the students had prepared these prayers as part of their research on the various religions of the world. They also had written peace mandalas, which they hung in the trees that grace the plaza where the ceremony took place.
It gave everyone a great feeling to see young people declaring humanity’s oneness! There were also representatives from various faiths who read their own prayers.
During the prayers for peace in each nation, the children’s choir dedicated a special chant at the start of each continent, something else they had researched in preparation for this event. This gave a nice rhythm to the ceremony.
A big thank you to the students, the teachers and to all the people who participated and brought this event together!
Ragusa, Italy: report by Sasha and Renato
At the Maunacenter in Ragusa, Italy, we joined with centers of peace meditation and prayer around the world in celebrating the 2013 Symphony of Peace Prayers. On May 19, we gathered at the Maunacenter, united in prayer and meditation. Our hearts felt the need to express a strong voice of hope, harmony and well-being.
Together we said: Even if the world seems to fall apart, even if economies and wars bring poverty and death, even if our mind is influenced by the negative … Know we, that this is only one part of what happens … Know we, that millions of brothers and sisters believe in and build a world of peace … Know we, that the vibrations of peace, prosperity, harmony, love, and freedom are vibrations that have followed us since we were young … They are the most beautiful part of our lives and our dignity … These vibrations are the sense and the pleasure of life … These voices and feelings are the most intimate part of our freedom, our hearts, and the heart of all humanity … No one can stop this inner song which is our life … May peace prevail on Earth.
Tolentino, Italy: report by Sonoko Tanaka
This year, I wanted to hold prayers on my own at home, taking time to visualize Fuji Sanctuary and go at my own pace. Thanks to the live online broadcast, I was really able to feel that I was there with everyone at Fuji Sanctuary. I tuned in for the full four and a half hours, right to the end, and was so happy to be able to offer prayers together.