“First Night”, a city-wide celebration of the arts held on New Year’s Eve, began in 1996. Holy Cross Church showcased performing artists. A few years later the Interfaith Vigil for Peace was born. Under the umbrella of Sangha Shantivanam, a Christian Community which promotes the Universal Call to Contemplation, founded by Cyprian Consiglio-Prior of New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, took on the task of creating this event as another way to welcome the New Year.
The parish hall, filled with candlelight, welcomed people from many faith traditions to share their prayers, chants and songs to bring peace between and among peoples. A huge canvas labyrinth invited prayer and walking meditation. Central to the event was shared silence. Contemplative prayer or meditation for peace was a focus throughout the evening. People came and went. A traditional Midnight Mass for peace followed in the church.
Last year, we encouraged youth to lead us toward a “Happy New World” with a focus on the environment, care for our planet as encouraged by Pope Francis. 2020 turned into a very different world.
The Good News is the tradition of an interfaith vigil for peace continues and will be held on Zoom on December 31st. Maybe for the first time, you will join us.
All peoples hope for peace
All peoples work for peace
In their hearts first and then
Bringing their peaceful hearts into their families,
Their city and the whole world.
All are welcome.
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman (ziggyrendlerbregman.com) is a poet and visual artist. She co-founded Tent of Abraham, promoting peace among people of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths and is an active member of Sangha Shantivanam (www.sanghashanti.net). She teaches a zoom yoga class for older adults, plays basketball and celebrates life with Jesse, her husband of 45 years and three awesome adult children. Ziggy has lived in Santa Cruz since 1969.
This article was published in the Holy Cross Community Voices, Lent Issue 2020. The link to the newsletter https://holycrosscommunityvoices.wordpress.com/holy-cross-community-voices-advent-issue/