As preparations for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games are well underway, we can reflect a little on the privilege of peace and the work needed to extend it to all corners of our troubled globe. The original Games were intended to break the cycle of war in ancient Greece and replace it with friendly competition. That same spirit still motivates us today. Who knows what could be achieved if international governments were to fulfil their pledge to honour the Olympic Truce between 27 July and 9 September 2012 (the 42-day period of the Games)?
CAFOD have gone further in calling for the observation of 100 Days of Peace from 8th June – 28th October 2012 (50 days either side of the Games), reflecting the original Truce which enabled athletes and spectators to travel to and from the Games in safety. Can we contribute to building peace and creating a lasting legacy of peacefulness during this time? Many schools, parishes and charities have already taken up the challenge with activities ranging from peace assemblies to CAFOD’s “Pass it On” video uploads.
One special point of focus this summer will be the travelling Pax Christi Icon. The Icon has already been and will continue to be hosted by sixteen different parishes in the three Olympic Dioceses of Westminster, Brentwood and Southwark where it will provide a focus for prayer and reflection.
Throughout these days we are asked to keep in our prayers those people from conflict zones who need to know that they have not been forgotten. We ask that we will become agents of the Jesus who says, “Peace be with you”.
This sacred painting was made at the Monastery of St John in the Desert and given to the Pax Christi move-ment in 1999. Entitled “Christ is our Reconciliation”, its twelve panels depict Biblical stories and saints as-sociated with the deep movements of the heart needed to bring about peace. On the day of the Olym-pic opening ceremony the Icon will move to St Francis of Assisi Church, Stratford, which will be open for 24 hour exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Other churches are holding Mission Weeks or ecumenical events for peace while the Icon is with them. While the Icon is at St John Vianney’s the parish centre will also be hosting a Music for Peace workshop on 16th June where Frances Novillo and Jenny Kettleton will facilitate an event for parish singers and musicians from across the Diocese to learn peace-themed mu-sic which can be used throughout the 100 Days and beyond.
For more details about where you can visit the Icon, click here.
Adapted from ‘An Invitation to Take Part in the 100 Days of Peace ‘ by Colette Joyce, Project assistant at the ‘100 days of Peace’ office (firstname.lastname@example.org)