Four locations: Arcidosso, Potenza, Ragusa, Rome
Arcidosso: report by Luca Bordoli
An SOPP ceremony was held at Aldebrandesco Castle in Arcidosso, in the Tuscany region of Italy. The day started with a panel discussion on the theme of ‘peace for children,’ among spiritual leaders and representatives from local schools. Also during the day, a peace pole was painted by a local artist, and the prayer leaders wrote peace prayer words in different languages. Then, the peace pole was planted at the entrance of the castle.
The first part of the prayer ceremony was held outdoors in the beautiful atmosphere of this medieval town, where 200 local people participated with great enthusiasm. In particular, we received a warm response from a local association called Aquilaia, and the City of Arcidosso fully supported us, preparing for us a large stage and honouring us with the presence of the mayor.
Representatives from many different religious and spiritual groups— Muslim, Sufi, Catholic, Baha’i, Tibetan Buddhist, and others—joined us for the ceremony. After those leaders shared their own prayers for peace with the participants, uniting their hearts in one heart of love, we all moved to the town theatre and held a flag ceremony with many children.
It was a beautiful experience of coming together with one heart. A wonderful day was created thanks to the all the participants and the whole town of Arcidosso.
Potenza: report by Teri Volini and Vito Palladino
We celebrated the SOPP in the United Europe Park in Potenza, the capital of a small region in southern Italy. Several residents of the city and a group of students from a city school participated in the event. We decorated the trees in the park with mandalas that the students had made.
In our interfaith ceremony, prayer leaders from various faiths represented in the city—Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism—led participants in sending out prayers for peace. Afterward, the students presented the flags of all the nations of the world, and we prayed for peace in each national language. At the end of the ceremony, we held a beautiful parade with all the students carrying the flags of the world. Many people said they were happy to be part of this special celebration of beauty and oneness.
Ragussa: report by Sasha and Renato
On a windy and stormy May 22, we held a wonderful gathering at the Maunacenter, our peace center in Ragusa.
Our meditations and prayers were directed toward peace in the Mediterranean, for the end of the war in Libya, as well as toward the health of the planet Earth and reflection on the nuclear crisis in Japan. We sent out heartfelt prayers for peace and the renewal of the Arab world. Our hearts resonated with all of you, with all nations and peoples, for freedom and peace within and around us.
Rome, Italy: report by Guru Niyam Singh
The SOPP was celebrated in Rome with a prayer gathering at Villa Carpegna Park. The event was realized thanks to the cooperation of members of the Yogadharma community and Flags for Peace, under the direction of Bhai Hari Singh Khalsa and Guru Inder Kaur. Our gathering was held in a space defined by three big trees, which we used to string up prayer flags inscribed with the words ‘May peace prevail on Earth’ in all the languages of the world.
We began the celebration with a meditation of the flags of peace. Then, always in a circle, we performed the mudras of peace that we performed at the 2007 SOPP at Fuji Sanctuary. We concluded the event with the sharing of food. Everyone said they felt happy to be part of this very special celebration of beauty and oneness.