Faith in Action for Children

Interfaith Prayer With Children In the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

22 April 2020

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El Salvador

Stats: 100 Attendees30 Adults70 Children

What Forms Did the Observations Take?
J, M, Ba, P, C, B  |  6 Traditions

What Form Was the Take Action?
Workshop for children and donation drive

As part of the pro-children actions, a series of workshops were held for the purpose of having the children of our religious communities attend the celebration, completely aware of the implications of that day. The transversal axes at work were: the convention of children’s rights, the eradication of poverty, as a basic requirement for the fulfillment of the convention and prayer of the children for achieving peace.

As a symbol of the children’s prayers for peace, we worked with the origami technique and created hundreds of beautiful paper cranes in a variety of colors that served as decoration for the celebration center. During the elaboration of the cranes we remembered the story of Sadako and how his moving story became a symbol for all humanity if the children’s call for peace.

In preparation for the world celebration of the Day of Prayer and Action for Children, there was also a session of cooperative games for contributing to the emotional recuperation of the children in two shelters, affected by the torrential rains that left El Salvador with almost 200 fatalities, probably 500 reported as disappeared, and over 13 thousand victims. A donation of juices, cookies, candy, baby covers, warm blankets and disposable diapers for 40 children who have lost their homes.

A thousand paper cranes, the flying illusion of hope

"Let me see!", said the child. "No, because the grownups sit there ", said the little girl.

"Little boy!, that is the Sheij’s chair", said the guest... "leave him alone, he is only a child ", said the Sheij.

And as a thankful reply, he received an instant smile.

The dialogs among the chairs, when the audience of painted, smiling faces applauded the performance on the street children. It is the GNRC El Salvador’s International day of Prayer for Children. And the chairs, which are mute witnesses of the screams and comments, are moved from one place to another in an effort to accommodate dozens of children and youngsters who have come to the Fine Arts Palace of Santa Tecla on this 18 of November, in preparation for the Day, celebrated in many countries of the world. Everything, hand made by the children of the GNRC El Salvador religious community: magic tricks, theater, choruses, classical music, paper cranes, snacks and a whole lot of happiness.

And as a powerful symbol of what are possibly the instants of eternity, the daily sparks of Divine Presence in every unexpected hour. Carlos, from the Islamic community and Ariel, of the Bahá'í community explained it well from the beginning:

ARIEL: Good Morning, We welcome you in the name of the Global Network of Religions for Children, GNRC.

CARLOS: We are thankful for your being here this morning.

ARIEL: Thanks to all of the religious authorities that accompany us.

CARLOS: Thanks to all of the government and municipality authorities.

ARIEL: Thanks to the teachers who are visiting us this day.

CARLOS: And a special thanks to the children who are the reason for this celebration.

The activity opened by entrusting the activity to the Divine Power. It was the Sheij Abderramán Agdaou, from the Islamic community who presided over this moment. Larry Madrigal, from the Bartolomé de las Casas Center, he recalled the origins of the GNRC and the Day of Prayer, remembering the generation marked by the war of El Salvador, showing the possible lights of conviviality in respect and equity, giving the example of dialog and inclusion into GNRC.

On tiptoes to reach the podium, Ariel presented the invited authorities. The speakers included the Mayor of Santa Tecla, the coordinator of GNRC El Salvador, Gabriela Velis. Artistic groups from the San Francisco de Asís parrish, of Mejicanos, with the powerful Monseñor Romero chorus and the classical chord duet of the Santillana sisters. There was a theatric performance by the meeting house and the Youth Cell of the Las Casas Center. Carlos and Ariel, with the help of the grownups moved the podium to make room for the children.

The most awaited moment was when five boys and girls, representing the religious diversity of the country, in their faces, ages and affiliations, leaded the collective prayer to activate the conscience and commitment for the eradication of poverty and violence for all, but especially that practiced against children. More than words were the very deep feelings, like paper cranes, hope rising to the flight of illusion.

Many boys and girls showed their tiredness after three hours of intense smiles and emotions. Running to the patio for the official photo, Carmen Díaz, of the Calvinist Reform Church, ran to the arms and of the group with the spirit of the child that showed the cranes, this memory of Sadako, the little girl from Hiroshima, victim of the atomic bomb that initiated the tradition of the peace cranes. Making a line for the loaves of the delicious snack, it was impossible to distinguish who came from what community, all that could be distinguished were the smiles, the pushing and the hopes of our boys and girls of the present: They are the faces of hope, that remember our hopes for the future.

[By Larry Madrigal, Centro Las Casas]

Date: Friday, 20 November 2009
Location:
San Salvador, El Salvador

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