Five candles have been lit every Thursday night for nearly four months at Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Whitehorse.
People have gathered in front of them for a few minutes of silent prayer. Those assembled have prayed for the four kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq, the thousands of others men and women held without charge or representation at infamous prisons like Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay and for all their captors.
News of the murder two weeks ago of Tom Fox, one of Christian Peacemaker Team members, grieved those then gathered, but, at the same time, renewed their resolve to continue the prayer vigil until the release of the others came or their ultimate fate became known.
Early yesterday morning news of the dramatic freeing of the remaining three peace activists did come. Local prayers were partially answered.
The word pray is not a passive verb. Prayer actively raises “the mind and soul to God” according to one definition.
It invites and challenges us to enter more deeply into life and the demands it presents us with. It can be the time we place our petitions before or offer our praise to our God as a prologue to action.
Christian Peacemaker Team members and their supporters around the world prayed for the safe release of the hostages. But they also spend thousands of hours renewing their efforts at peace making.
They wished to strongly convey to the hostage takers the message of that they indeed sought justice and peace for Iraqis and would work alongside Iraqis to non-violently achieve these ends.
Scores of Christian Peacemaker Team ‘End Torture Now!’ postcards were handed out at the peace demonstration this past Wednesday in front of the Elijah Smith Building.
This campaign calls on us to urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to join the United Nations and the International Red Cross in condemning the torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their prayer and action continue. Ours should as well. For more information visit the Christian Peacemaker site at www.cpt.org.
Hundreds of lay people, religious women, clergy, civic and church leaders joined in prayer Wednesday evening in the large gym of Vanier Catholic Secondary School.
They witnessed and affirmed the consecration of Gary Gordon as the fifth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Whitehorse.
In the six years since a plane crash took the life of Bishop Thomas Lobsinger at Fox Lake along with Brother Hoby Spruyt, many prayers have been said seeking a new spiritual shepherd for the local Catholics.
As the Bishop-elect Gordon crossed new blankets laid out to mark the beginning of this new path in his life, those prayers were answered.
However the prayers now answered open new challenges not only to Bishop Gordon, but for the faithful as well.
An honour song from the Sto:lo people, with whom Bishop Gordon worked in the Chilliwack area of British Columbia before coming to the Yukon, underlined the ongoing need for reconciliation and healing here between the church and First Nations as well.
The declining number of priests will demand new forms of ministering to the pastoral needs of Catholics and the recognition of new forms of vocations.
Prayers and action will certainly be needed to confront these and host of other pressing spiritual and social concerns.
This weekend the Yukon Development Education Centre is hosting at daylong symposium on African development, Harnessing the Wave at Yukon College on March 25th beginning at 9 a.m. in the lecture theatre.
Come explore how Yukoners are and can become involved.