September 24, 2012, 10:27 AM
URI Pakistan held its celebration of the International Day of Peace Sept. 23 at the Peace Center in Lahore.
URI Pakistan delayed its celebration of the international peace holiday for two days because of the violent demonstrations taking place throughout the country on Sept. 21.
“We will never, ever give up working for peace, tolerance and religious harmony, no matter what the circumstance might be,” said the Rev. James Channan, OP, URI’s Subregional Coordinator for Pakistan and the recipient of that nation’s 2012 Peace Award in recognition of his tireless efforts to promote peace and interfaith dialogue.
The celebration began with a reading of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Peace Day address by Sister Genevive Ram Lal, followed by peace quotes, poems and speeches by government, civil and religious leaders. Akram Masih Gill, a Catholic state minister for the National Harmony Commission of Pakistan was honored as the chief guest of the celebration, while Bishop Sebastian Shaw, Apostolic Administrator for the Archdiocese of Lahore, presided over the event.
Two trustees of URI’s Global Council, Zubair Ahmed Farooq and Nasir Mehmood Saleemi, also attended the event as guests of honor. The choir of St. Joseph’s Church – the oldest church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore – performed peace songs at the event, while doves released for the occasion soared high above the crowd.
The celebration concluded with a sumptuous dinner for 150 guests.
The event was co-sponsored by URI Pakistan, the National Council for Interfaith Dialogue, the Catholic Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism, the Dominican friars and the Universal Peace and Harmony Forum.