Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 1999
Schools offer prayers for peace
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
As bombs rain over Yugoslavia and refugees stream out of Kosovo, Catholic students pray for peace in the Balkans and around the world.
Students at four west end Catholic schools in Edmonton have been praying for peace in the Balkans and other troubled spots in the world for over a month.
The prayer chain began May 10 at Our Lady of the Prairies elementary and moved on to Annunciation Catholic School after two weeks. Four west end schools are taking part in the project.
As of May 21, the 276 students at Our Lady of the Prairies school had said 7,772 prayers for peace.
The school started the project out of concern about "what's going in Kosovo" and the student massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., explained teacher Patty Barter, an organizer.
"There is so much violence going on and we need to pray for peace."
The project had spiritual and educational sides. Students talked about peace issues in class and each class would come to the hallway daily to pray in front of a "peace bulletin board" titled "Quarters for Kosovo."
"We would talk about peace and how we can be peacemakers and how it has to begin with us through prayer," Barter explained.
Other objectives of the project included making students more aware of prayer and teaching them that they can help others in need with prayers.
High among their discussions and prayers were the Kosovar refugees, the families of the victims of the school shootings in Colorado and Taber and the victims of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
"We are trying to show them what war is," Bartel said. "War is destruction; many people are getting killed."
Each class would say a prayer of its choice, including the Our Father and the Hail Mary. After the prayers, the teacher added his/her number of prayers to the running total on a paper dove.
The dove was placed behind the previous dove and now Our Lady of the Prairies has doves going down the hallway in sequential order. Each class placed one dove per day in the hallway.
In many cases, individual students prayed by themselves during recess or after school. Some carried rosaries.
"I prayed so everyone has food and shelter," said Meaghan Carruthers, 8. "They (the Kosovars) are being forced out of their homes."
Kimberley Brydges, 9, had just one thing to say: "We prayed because there is a war going on and we want peace for everybody."
Bartel said the school counted the prayers "just to show the students that it's not only the money that can help, especially the refugees; that prayers are also important. We need to pray for peace."
Still, students filled a jar with coins that will go to the refugees through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. Almost $120 was collected.
The prayer chain moved to Annunciation School May 24. After a week, it went to St. Benedict. Now prayers for peace are being said at Good Shepherd School.