Peace, Saalom, Shalom

Just weeks ago the world was reeling from unspeakable violence done to a group of Muslims at prayer in the Al Noor Mosque in Christ Church, New Zealand. The victims numbered 42 in that location and eight more at a second mosque. Last weekend the Islamic Association of Erie hosted a vigil to remember Muslim victims of violence, both in New Zealand and around the world. The Erie community came together to express support and solidarity. Sister Anne McCarthy, OSB, who was one of the participants, said: "The vigil was a way to come together as a community to pray for victims of hatred and violence in New Zealand and also to stand with our Muslim neighbors as their sisters and brothers. As a Benedictine community we participate in the One Table, Erie's Multicultural and Interfaith Bridge-builders. The crowded room was not full of strangers; we have been together to pray, to share stories, to share food and music many times.”

Sister Anne’s response included song and prayer: Peace, Salaam, Shalom by Emma’s Revolution and the Prayer for Dialogue with Greater Religions by Sister Mary Lou Kownacki. “Both were powerful and meaningful,” shared Sister Rosanne Lindal-Hynes who was able to be present for the event.

Shared here is Sister Mary Lou’s prayer. “This prayer can be prayed by anyone at any time,” said Sister Anne. “It summarizes a feeling of bondedness and respect strong enough to face any fear, ignorance, hate and violence.”

I bow to the one who signs the cross.
I bow to the one who sits with the Buddha.
I bow to the one who wails at the wall.
I bow to the OM flowing in the Ganges.
I bow to the one who faces Mecca,
whose forehead touches holy ground.
I bow to dervishes whirling in mystical wind.
I bow to the north,
to the south,
to the east,
to the west.
I bow to the God within each heart.
I bow to epiphany,
to God’s face revealed.
I bow. I bow. I bow.
— Mary Lou Kownacki

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