Observances planned for International Day of Peace

San Jose's Holy Spirit School will observe the International Day of Peace by participating in the Pinwheels for Peace Program.

The focus currently in the news seems to be on war and violence. A civil war in Syria during which the Syrian government used poison gas against its own citizens has brought the United States to the brink of entering that conflict.
Of course, that is not all. Various African nations are engaged in civil wars, sectarian bombings rock Iraq and in Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to kill civilians and U.S. solders on a regular basis. Locally, San Jose, once the safest large city in the country, recorded its 35th homicide last week.
Considering all this, it seems almost quaint to note that the International Day of Peace, adopted by the Unite Nations in 1981, is almost upon us. Its goal is “to devote specific time to concentrate the efforts of the UN and its member states, as well as the whole of mankind, to promote the ideas of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways.”
In 2002, the General Assembly officially declared Sept. 21 as the permanent date for this observance. Since then, “It has grown to include millions of people in all parts of the world, and each year events are organized to commemorate and celebrate this day.”
Events planned in recognition of the International Day of Peace include:
• Representatives of the world’s religions will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 in the Golden Gate Club of the San Francisco Presidio. Musical groups from such diverse faiths as Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Muslim will perform. Free; call (415) 447-6274 for more information.
• An Interfaith Prayer Gathering hosted by the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, Sacred Heart Community services and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 22 at Sacred Heart (1381 S. First St., San Jose). The Jain community (an Indian religion prescribing nonviolence toward all living beings) will provide food and a Sikh ensemble will perform. More information: (408) 357-7504.
• In San Jose’s Almaden Valley, Holy Spirit School (1198 Redmond Ave.) will participate in the Pinwheels for Peace Program. Each year students at the Roman Catholic School construct pinwheels; on Sept. 19 students and parents will place hundreds of them along three blocks of Redmond Avenue, removing them on Sept. 20. Call (408) 268-0794 for more information.
• The Morgan Hill United Methodist Church (17175 Monterey St.) will hold a Prayer Vigil on Sept. 20. The church sanctuary will be open for prayer on that day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members of the congregation will be “ambassadors,” greeting people who arrive to pray, showing them into the sanctuary and handing out prayer bulletins. Participants may ring the church bell in solidarity with the Peace Bell rung at the UN headquarters in New York City. Call (408) 779-4044.
Pastor Patrick Davis invites the community to participate.
“As the International Day of Peace draws upon us, let us join together in practicing peace in all the affairs of our lives,” he said. “Let us pray together as we seek that justice by which the dignity of all may be realized.”
Chuck Flagg is a retired teacher with a passion for religion. Reach him at [email protected]

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