“I give you my peace which the world cannot give….”!
On October 4, 2013, the Catholic Church commemorated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Imbued with the Spirit of peace and through the initiative of the Commission of Interfaith Dialogue, the Archdiocese of Saigon held an Ecumenical prayer service in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.
Its noble aim is to pray fervently for world peace, unity and harmony especially in the countries that torn by violence, war and strife. It commenced with a video presentation depicting the inhumane condition and sad plight of our brothers and sisters who are victims of selfishness, greed and power. Indeed, it was heart-rending to see their anguish, pain, suffering and despicable poverty.
Followed by a Para-Liturgy which was centered on the Word of God according to the first epistle of St. Paul to the Church of Corinth. (1 Cor. 13:1-18)
The Catholic priests and ministers coming from different Protestant churches shared their reflection on the Word. The universal prayers were offered for the following intentions:
1. To pray for all government and religious leaders that the spirit of goodness and integrity be motivated in their efforts and actions. So that envy, arrogance, anger and selfishness will be overcome for the common good of the people.
2. To pray for unity and harmony among humanity and ecology that the Lord will recreate us, His creation, to be as perfect as the Father who constantly calls us to repentance and self-renewal. As co-creator, we pray that we can use and develop our natural resources and join hands with passion in the mission of protecting the environment and thus maintaining an ecological balance.
3. To pray for Christian joy and peace in our hearts.
It was a moving and heartwarming experience as we lifted up ourselves and the needs of our brothers and sisters to Our God with one heart and one mind as we pray the Lord’s Prayer.
It was culminated with our hands joined in singing the song of St. Francis of Assisi entitled “Make me a channel of your Peace.”
This interfaith prayer service was graced by the presence of many priests, nuns and lay people, in particular Cardinal Pham Minh Man and our brothers and sisters who came from different Christian denominations:
1. Pastor Ho Tan Khoa - Vice Chairman, Vietnam People’s Evangelical Fellowship
2. Pastor Le Quoc Huy and Mr. Lam - Grace Baptist Church
3. Pastor Duong Quang Vinh - Vietnam Agape Church
4. Pastor Vo Thien Phuoc - Peace Evangelical Church
5. Mr. Nguyen Chuong - Christian- Seventh-day Adventist Church
6. Miss Grace Mishler - Brethren Church