Awaiting them at St. Joseph Catholic Church was a contingent of about a hundred parishioners from the community led by their parish priest, Fr. Victor Virtudazo. Joining together in a Peace March the two groups filled the streets to the beat of a local drum-and-lyre marching band, interspersed with drumming and harmonium music (provided by the ISKCON) while everyone chanted, “Peace in Mindanao… Now!”-- as they made their way to the Blue Mosque.
Here they were welcomed by the Muslim community led by young boys and girls who received the white flowers offered to them by their Christian neighbors and the visiting interfaith community
Beside the mosque, everyone gathered under the sun in a circle where the interfaith manifesto for peace was read aloud and interfaith prayers for peace were offered by leaders and representatives from the Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Indigenous, Hare Krishna and Hindu faiths. Concluding the ceremony was the planting of a “Tree of Peace” at the center of the circle around which each faith representative put a peg to fence the seedling —symbolizing the concerted effort of protection and continuous nurture that peace would require from each of the stakeholders.
Right after, a celebratory cultural program was held in a tent area nearby where everyone enjoyed musical entertainment from the Muslim community and listened to the solidarity messages and Eidl Fitr greetings from the different participating groups.
Also held there was a symbolic offering of food from the Christian and interfaith community which was received by the Muslims led by their respected leader, Sultan Pangandaman.
A simple but harmonious feast was shared as a general feeling of hope filled the air and the promise for peace had been planted in each one’s heart through this fresh, new kind of interfaith Eid celebration that has been started.
On behalf of the conveners of Sowing Peace for Mindanao network (Binhi ng Kapayapaan, Inc., GZO Peace Institute, Anak Mindanao, Center for Peace Education - Miriam College, The Peacemakers’ Circle Foundation, Inc., Balay Rehabilitation Center, Mindanao Solidarity Network, Interfaith Center for a Culture of Nonviolence, Pinay...Kilos!), we heartily thank all groups and individuals who have participated and contributed to the success of the event: Aksyon para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan (AKKAPKA), International Initiatives for Dialogue (IID), Motorcyclists Assoc. of the Phils., International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), SangHabi, Inc., KaliPiMu Inner Dance group, Environmental Broadcast Circle-PeaceComm. , Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women, St. Joseph Parish,
Check out news videos on this event from the web:
Also see small feature/photos on Oct.3/08 newspapers: Phil. Daily Inquirer, The Phil. Star, and Tribune
Reference: The Peacemakers' Circle Foundation, Inc. (PCFI) to The Peacemakers' Circle news updates at 10/03/2008 01:21:00 AM
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