a priest's musings on the journey

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Praying for peace in the midst of the violence

There is a small restaurant near the University and the Canterbury House that I sometimes frequent for lunch, mainly because it's close, and because it is one of the few Chinese restaurants to have a a good selection of veggies on the buffet. It's a sweet little family run place, where many Hispanics and students hang out for meals. Today, it is closed- not because it is Sunday- but because the family and the community are in mourning for the death of the son of the owners, who was abducted and murdered recently while delivering an order. Last night, there was a community vigil to pray for him and the family, and to pray for peace in our little town.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event. On Wednesday a woman was attacked while running (just yards away from the Church). the man was armed and tried to bind her hands, but she resisted and he fled (and is still at large). On July 1 a university student was also attacked by a man fitting the same description, while she was running along Hanover St (on the trails I usually like to walk on).

Fredericksburg is normally a quiet, peaceful town, where neighbors still know each other and speak with each other, where one feels safe walking alone on the streets at night... until now.... this bucolic Mayberry is becoming plagued by a stream of violence.

Part of the Canterbury Clubs mission is to pray and work for peace. In fact, we chose to name the chapel, Prince of Peace Chapel to remind us of our call to be peacemakers. There is a cross in the chapel on which those who suffer from persecution and violence are named and prayers are offered for them. The idea was that we would pray for Iraq, Sudan, The Middle East, etc. I do not think any of us dreamed we would be naming people who had been victims of violence outside our door. It is clear that our mission for peacemaking is becoming "real" and "at home"- of course we will pray and speak out against violence, but I am praying about what else we can do to stand against the rise of violence in our neighborhood and in the world. Part of me thinks this is the fruit born from the violence our country has been sowing throughout the world: Now is the time to sow peace, love, and justice. Now is the time to cry with those who mourn, to rage with those who are sick and tired of the power given to violence by those who have the ability to act against it but who sit complacent in the face of it, to resist the evil within ourselves that feeds the evil in the world, to pray for mercy, and to act for a transformed world that looks more like the world Jesus proclaimed was coming among us as God's Reign.

Stay tuned.... I can't wait to see what ideas the students have when the gather back here in August....

You see a clip of the vigil here.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 10:12 AM


We ALL have to work for peace. Here in London knife crime is rife with so many gangs among young people. We need to give everyone respect and self-worth.
Blogger John the organist, at 6:49 AM  
Be careful, very careful, it's not enough to simply attend a vigil...my God taught me to be Vigilant (not paranoid)...blessings of peace and acceptance to the families of those touched by the insanity of violence...prayers that all of us will start taking FULL responsibility for our own actions...that would include who would/will receive our votes in the U.S. Fall election.
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo, at 4:35 PM  

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