By Rachel Bergen
Students of the 2015 School of Peace are embarking on the third and final module of their peace studies this month.
On Thursday morning, Max Ediger opened the module with an interfaith prayer and reflection. Sister Denise from the Metta Karuna Reflection Centre informed him of Pope Francis’ call to use the ongoing jubilee year as a year of mercy. The Pope calls on followers to “open wide” the doors of their hearts to forgive others and work against exclusion, according to the National Catholic Reporter. A jubilee year is celebrated every 25 or 50 years in the Catholic church.
At Metta Karuna, the SOP participants reflected on how the jubilee year of mercy is also about working against widespread exclusion of vulnerable people — especially refugees like the millions affected by the crisis in Syria. During the opening prayer and reflection, each student lit a candle and shared their thoughts and concerns about what’s going on in the world.
Sister Denise then asked the SOP group to write prayers for mercy on tiles and place them in a grass hut which they had used as the stable for their Christmas program. According to the sister, the door to mercy is always open, so the grass hut has no door and is open to anyone who wants to enter or to place a prayer tile there.
Some of these tiles say:
“I pray that there would be less hate in the world, more love, acceptance, and healing. I pray that Jesus will truly reign in all our hearts.”
“A peaceful heart mean everything.”
“God show the way to making people find their rights and power in those hearts.”
During the coming month, we at ICF are looking forward to working with the School of Peace students to learn more about mercy and justpeace. We hope to spread the message that opening wide the doors of our hearts to forgive and work against exclusion is a lifelong endeavour, not just a year-long project.