Two events: Faisalabad, Lahore
Faisalabad: report by Sr. Sabina Rifat
The Women and Kids Education (WAKE) Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative held a programme with women and kids on the 20th of May, where we shared some inspiring parts of the message from Masami Saionji. The women prayed and had tea together while children engaged in peace songs, dances, poems and prayers. We enjoyed the day and said heartfelt wishes and prayers for all the people on earth.
Lahore: report by Fr. James Channan, OP
It is with great joy that I share the news that the United Religions Initiative (URI) of Pakistan, the Lahore Peace Center and National Council for Interfaith Dialogue celebrated the Symphony of Peace Prayers at the Peace Center in Lahore on the 20th of May. We felt very much united with everyone at Fuji Sanctuary and in all the countries where this peace-filled day was being observed. We could feel spiritually united in our longing for peace and harmony in the world.
There were 120 people from different backgrounds present at the Peace Center. They were members of the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Baha’i faiths. The program started around 7 pm with words of welcome and acknowledgement of the guests of honor. Fr. Francis Nadeem, OFM Cap, offered a Christian prayer, Zubair Ahmed Farooq recited from the Holy Quran, Baghat Lal Khkbor led a Hindu prayer, and Mr. Yousaf Bajnori recited from the Baha’i Holy Book.
Fr. James Channan, OP, formally welcomed all the guests and shared with them the significance of this SOPP. He also read aloud Mrs. Masami Saionji’s message written especially for this year’s ceremony in Lahore. The message was also translated into Urdu. In her message, Mrs. Saionji spoke of her deep emotion in learning that the Dominican Community and the URI in Pakistan would again be holding an SOPP ceremony in Lahore. She expressed her gratitude for the long-term support of the URI, and mentioned that she would be welcoming URI Executive Director the Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs to Fuji Sanctuary this year. Her message was highly appreciated by all the participants and greeted with applause.
Ms. Ameena Hameed and the St. Joseph Choir of Lahore performed two peace songs, and then three special guests offered some brief remarks. In the second part of the program, Fr. Pascal Paulus, OP, Prior Vice Provincial of the Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province Pakistan, officially dedicated the Lahore Peace Center to Fr. James Channan, OP, in recognition of his work to promote interfaith dialogue and peace in Pakistan and around the world. The dedication was marked with a marble plaque, and participants expressed their joy and appreciation for this great honor and recognition.
In the third part of the SOPP ceremony, several well-known Pakistani poets recited poems. Sr. Sabina Rifat, coordinator of the Women and Kids Education Circle of the URI Pakistan and a well-known poet herself, conducted this program. Fr. Francis Nadeem thanked all the guests as well as Mrs. Masami Saionji, and also announced that another special program would be arranged to pay special tribute to Fr. James Channan. At the end of the program participants enjoyed some delicious cold drinks together.