2 events: Baguio and Manila
Baguio, Philippines: report by Genevieve Balance-Kupang and Gabriel David A. Medina
The Symphony of Peace Prayers in Baguio City was held at Villa Romana Inn at sunrise on May 14, in conjunction with the SOPP ceremony at Fuji Sanctuary, with support from various peace organizations, the Interfaith community in Baguio, and Villa Romana. As it was Mothers’ Day, we also offered special prayers for mothers all over the world.
We were joined by friends from the Brahma Kumaris, Ananda Marga, Hare Krishna, Buddhist, and Catholic communities. With us also were members of the Baguio Artist Group, a professor and students of St. Louis University, the Del Rosario family from Pampanga, and supporters from La Union in Ilocos Region.
We started welcoming people at 5:30 in the morning. We felt at one with the cosmos as the darkness of the night faded while the sun rose. We started with an early morning meditation led by Ms. Vangie Ram of Brahma Kumaris, followed by indigenous music by Sonny Zandueta, flute and saxophone playing by former Buddhist Monk Conrad del Rosario, and yoga meditation by Dada Priya of Ananda Marga. Then we had peace prayers by the teachers and students of Saint Paul College Pasig, Saint Louis University, and Angeles University Foundation, yoga meditation by Nerisse Villanueva, and a message from the Hare Krishna community. I talked about finding time to be in solitude with God, to seek the Creator’s sanctification for a peaceful world.
We took time to remember Orland de Guzman Jr. and Fransiskus Kupang, who made great contributions towards building a culture of peace. A healing prayer was offered also for Mario Fungo, as we prayed for his complete healing and well-being. We closed the event by sharing a hearty breakfast. More songs, instrumental playing, and dances capped the morning. It was a spirit-filled gathering of peace, friends, and family!
Manila, Philippines: report by Gabriel David A. Medina
We held a Symphony of Peace Prayers in Quezon City, Metro Manila, at PhilDHRRA Partnership Center on May 14. The event was made possible by the combined efforts of the Mandala Peace Arts Initiative (MPAI) and its partner, the Peace Makers Circle Foundation. About 20 people from 6 different religious faiths took part in the event.
As participants arrived, I gave a mandala-writing workshop and also talked about the Soul of WoMen campaign. A short video about the SOPP was shown and refreshments were offered to everyone.
We started the ceremony with a soul-nourishing peaceful silence. Then, after warm welcoming remarks and self-introductions, I performed a wordless prayer for the peace of all humanity. This was followed by a prayer performed by four of our guests, addressing the four directions of the earth. Friends from different faiths prayed peace prayers from Hinduism, Sikhism, the Baha’i faith, Buddhism, Islam, and Catholicism.
Before our prayers for peace in each country, one of the guests read Masami Saionji’s message to overseas SOPP events, and another guest read a prayer for a world free from conflict. After we had prayed for all the countries of the world, an MPAI core group member led us in tai chi meditation. I then read the last prayer, for harmony between humanity and nature, as well as the Fuji Declaration.
To close the ceremony, a guest named Marites gave a brief talk, describing the SOPP as an intimate reunion of friends on this same journey towards peace, with a rich medley of prayers and meditation exercises. It really doesn’t matter if we’re 20 people, 40 people, or more, he said. What is more important is that our voices are raised in unison, expressing the hopes we hold in our hearts.