September 29, 2015, Detroit, Michigan -- The Capuchin Soup Kitchen sponsored a special prayer service in honor of International Day of Peace, September 21. The evening at the St. Bonaventure chapel in Detroit brought together a cross section of people from various faiths, cultures and environments.
Sister Nancyann Turner, OP, welcomed the congregation with a reminder that so many places need love and community. “The call to Peace is urgent,” she said. “Our families, our neighborhoods, our cities, and the whole world are such need of healing and love and community. We must work for peace -- as well as pray for peace.”
The Capuchin Soup Kitchen Choir and the St. Charles Praise Dancers used song and dance to honor peace and invite people to various modalities of praying for peace.
Two speakers, Lila Cabbil and Rasha Almulaiki, spoke of how important parents and families are in imparting either acceptance or prejudice to their children. Lila Cabbil reminded participants that a love of peace must expand to work for justice. Rasha Almulaiki spoke of what it feels like to be labeled different, a problem, or a terrorist when she was simply a student at Wayne State University.
Following the presentations, members of the assembly took part in a beautiful anointing ritual. As a sign that each person can be a healer, participants received a peace blessing with holy oil. Closing music and blessings challenged each person to be a source of light and peace throughout the family, the neighborhood and the city.
During the reception afterwards, people continued to share stories about peace for another hour. So many people expressed gratitude for the service. “Thank you so much for the beautiful prayer service,” Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, said. “It was a wonderful way to pray for peace and to celebrate the richness of all the people of this city and world. I was so proud to be part of it.”
Sister Theresa said she was “touched by every aspect of the service: the interfaith experience, the words of Lila and Rasha, the amazing young dancers, the beautiful spirited singing — right down to those huge cookies for refreshments. I was so glad I was able to come.”
Other Adrian Dominicans participating in the prayer service included Associate Carol Hofer and Sisters Rosalie Esquerra, Pat Johnson, Noreen O’Connell, and Suzanne Schreiber. Many other Adrian Dominicans sent word that they were praying with the group from other locations.
And so, may all of us continue to pray for peace and work for peace.
- Article submitted by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen
By Sister Nancyann Turner, OP - August 4, 2015, Detroit, Michigan – Recently, we at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen started our annual Rosa Parks Peace Camp — a tradition now for 16 years. For three weeks, every day, we try to provide a teaching environment of respect, peace, and nonviolence through dance, music, fine arts, and conflict mediation classes.
The camp usually involves 65 participants plus teachers. Frequently, we invite the mothers and grandmothers to be present for the first half hour of the camp session, which consists of singing.
Recently, a mom sitting next to me started crying. When I asked about her tears, she told me that she felt like she was in church. “Those were tears of joy. There is such a great spirit in this room. I felt hugged and embraced. I felt overwhelmed by love in this room among the children and the teachers. “
Another mom shared with me how having her children up at the camp brings her such peace of mind, knowing that they are with good people and not just out on the street. “Yet, I see my children take what they learn here at the peace camp and then, share it with their cousins and neighbors,” she said. “The Peace camp has a long life.”These comments brought tears to my own eyes. I thank God that we are part of this East side community – and that somehow, our God of peace and work through all of us.
Sister Nancyann is the Director of the Rosa Parks Children and Youth Program at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit.