Monza, Italy—An interfaith prayer for peace was held by candlelight to celebrate the 2016 International Day of Peace.
The prayer vigil was held on the evening of September 21 in front of the Town Hall of Monza, a city located in Italy’s Lombardy region.
Carlo Chierico, the president of the Monza chapter of UPF, said that although we may not have the power to end conflict, at least we can become aware of the value of praying together as spiritual support and for a different approach to life.
The prayer vigil was attended by Monza Vice Mayor Cherubina Bertola, who underlined the sense of the presence of the institutions in a religious vigil for peace: Those who administer the city can only send messages of social cohesion. This year the presence of some volunteers of the City Angels was also noticed.
Only peace can be “holy” and never war—these are the words that Pope Francis spoke on September 20, the day before the Monza prayer vigil, during an interreligious meeting held in the Vatican.
Giorgio Del Zanna, the regional leader for Lombardy of Comunità di Sant'Egidio, a well-known group working within the Catholic Church, offered a prayer. He was followed by Sister Marilena of the Misericordina order of nuns.
Poignant testimonies were given by two young Muslims. Dalia, an Egyptian girl at Monza with her family, thanked the Catholic community for its help, giving back her volunteer activities. Toure, a young Senegalese, testified that faith helped him feel that all people, even of different skin colors, are children of the same God.
"Actions are what really matters, before every meditation and the word," said the Buddhist monk Caesar, and according to the master Amadio Bianchi, "Society can, by looking at its best ideals, work at a universal brotherhood project."
Speakers included Maria Grazia Robbiati and Ester Galli; Gian Mario Zoadelli (Templar), Renato Vallone (Unification movement); and WeWe, Burma, with the words of Aung San Suu Kyi. Inspiring musical moments were provided by the South American chorus of Monza and two evangelical pastors, Sammy and Daniel.
According to Hector Fiorina of UPF-Monza: "In the Torah we read that to begin a prayer it is necessary that there are at least ten adults, because prayer makes sense in a community, just like tonight. Seeing so much in the human strength, I like to think that the Creator Himself is amazed that He had given life to creatures so strong."
According to Father Alberto of the Catholic missionary order of Padri Bianchi (White Fathers): "This evening we gathered not in our temples, churches or synagogues, but in a square, the place of all. Every day we can come and say hello to each other in our own languages. I invite Christian women to greet Muslim women, saying ‘Salam alaykum.’ It can be a step toward the other.”
Carlo Chierico closed by quoting UPF Founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who ascended to Heaven four years ago and whose peacekeeping mission is being carried out by his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.