Prayer and Witness for Peace

March 12, 2003

 

Prayer Service for Peace with Bishop Anthony Pilla at St. John's Cathedral and March and Rally for Peace, through Downtown Cleveland and with representatives from Cleveland City Hall (750 students from 15 schools)

 

Praying for peace, Students ask: Who would Jesus bomb?

Catholic Universe Bulletin

By Nancy Erikson, Features Editor

CLEVELAND - Gilmour Academy junior Genevieve Ray wants to know: Who would Jesus bomb?  Ray, 17, was one of hundreds of Catholic high school students who prayed for peace with Bishop Anthony M. Pilla at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Wednesday. They also sang songs and carried pro-peace signs to Cleveland City Hall and then to Public Square during what organizers called A Day of Catholic Student Action for Peace and Justice.  Students from 15 high schools and at least two elementary schools joined in the call for world leaders to seek a peaceful solution to the impasse in Iraq.  Carrying a handmade sign, Ray said that as a young person and as a Catholic, she thinks it is important to speak in favor of nonviolent solutions to the world’s problems.  “I oppose the war,” she said. “I believe violence is a cycle and it will not solve anything.”

Brad Long, 18, a senior at Walsh Jesuit High School, Cuyahoga Falls, was one of several student speakers at the rally on Public Square.  A participant at the peace march in Washington on Martin Luther King Day in January, Long said he cannot say enough about the importance of peace and nonviolence in today’s world.  He also said it’s important for people to make a stand for peace no matter what their age.  “This is a democracy and we have a say,” he said. “We should let our voices be heard.”

For Ryan Lopez, 16, a sophomore at St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland, it was the first time he joined a peace march.  “I just don’t necessarily think that going there to bomb them will do anything,” he said. “A lot of innocent people will get hurt.”

Trinity High School freshman Taja Salett, 15, was also a first-time demonstrator.  “I’m against war because it never solves anything,” she said. “We need to realize that peace and nonviolence can make the world a better place. That’s what God would want.” 

Julie Marino, 18, a senior at Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron, agrees.  She marched in Washington in January and believes Catholics should be speaking out against a possible war with Iraq.  “I’m a strong believer that war should be a last resort,” she said. “I don’t believe this is a just war.”

During the prayer service Bishop Pilla emphasized that praying for peace was not political but a Gospel mandate for Christians who model their lives on Jesus’ example of nonviolence. He also commended the teens for their willingness to show they care about the world.  “You are a gift to this church and a gift to this society,” he said. “You are not too young to be peacemakers.”

Event organizer Tim Evans, a St. Ignatius High School teacher, said he is hopeful that other Catholics of all ages will be inspired by the students’ desire to pray and work for peace.  “This is one way for Catholic schools to demonstrate what has been asked of us,” he said.

 

Students March for Peace

WCPN 90.3 FM - Cleveland NPR News

by Mike West

CLEVELAND 2003-03-12 Hundreds of Catholic high school students rallied for peace in Cleveland this afternoon. The march stared with a prayer service held by Bishop Anthony Pilla at St. John Cathedral. Pilla told the students they have a responsibility to be peacemakers. The students then marched on city hall. The war protesters were welcomed by city council members who made speeches and cheered them on. High schooler Meredith Garofalo says her classmates are frightened by the possibility of going into battle. "My cousin is 18 and he's afraid of being drafted for war and I have a lot of friends who are afraid of being drafted for war. I know they're scared but I know that they have faith that the Lord is going to get us through this." About 400 students from 15 catholic high schools participate in the march which ended at Public Square. They say it is their duty as Christians to demand world peace. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, police say more than 350 people gathered at Fountain Square for a 45-minute lunchtime rally in support of military troops. People waved flags, sang patriotic songs and held up signs against Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. A few participants said they have children in the military.

 

Hundreds Of Catholic Students Rally For Peace

Bishop Urges Protesters To Pray

POSTED: 12:44 p.m. EST March 12, 2003

(From Yahoo! News, courtesy of NewsNet5.com)

 

CLEVELAND -- Hundreds of high school students gathered in downtown Cleveland Wednesday afternoon in an effort to promote peace. 

NewsChannel5's Debora Lee reported that students from between 12 and 15 Catholic high schools across the area rallied for peace at Public Square. Students from as far away as Toledo, Ohio, and Pittsburgh also attended.

Some of the students came with signs, including one that said "This is God's world; don't mess it up."

Bishop Anthony Pilla joined the protesters at a prayer service early Wednesday. He said the rally wasn't a political activity, but a spiritual one.

"You are not too young to pray for conversion of hearts so that our nation and the world will find effective ways short of war to secure justice, increase security and promote genuine peace for all God's people," he said.

He urged the students to pray for the country's troops and their families, for President George W. Bush and also for the Iraqi people.

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