Jacob Bang, Challenge 2000
A group of young people from Challenge 2000 organised a peace liturgy at the Cathedral of Sacred Heart, Thorndon, to remember the victims of violence and tragedy in Paris and throughout the world. Almost 200 attended the vigil held Wednesday 18 November.
Candles adorned the foot of the altar symbolising how we are called to be lights in the darkness. Te Po Hohua Johnstone welcomed everyone with a mihi. The parable of the Good Samaritan, read in French by Mrs Clarisse Gerardin from the Embassy of France, Wellington, and in English by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Bill English, recalled the necessity of compassionate action. To serve and be merciful is a choice to reach out and love our neighbours and acknowledge our interconnected universal humanity.
Three reflections – shared from different perspectives – echoed the insufficiency of words but the necessity of a response through prayer and solidarity. Sr Catherine Jones, Rachel Kleinsman and I each spoke of the impact of violence and injustice in our world and how we are called to be peacemakers and good Samaritans to one another and all our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Manisha Jobard, Nicole Simson, Ivan Antonio and Heath Hutton read prayers. All attending were encouraged to cross the aisles at the Cathedral and of their own worlds to reach out in peace.
Cardinal John Dew said the struggle for peace begins within individual hearts and he prayed for inner transformation to bridge the distance we keep from those who are marginalised and perceived as the ‘other.’ He said when we have the heart of Christ then we can truly love. Through Christ we have the gift of peace to give to others.