Day of Peace celebration in Clinton


“Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” is the theme of the 2012 United Nations International Day of Peace which will be celebrated at The Canticle, home of the Clinton Franciscans, 841-13th Ave., No., with a day-long Prayer Vigil for Peace Retreat.

“There can be no sustainable future without a sustainable peace,” stated UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in declaring this year’s observance.  “Sustainable peace must be built on sustainable development,” he explained.  “The root causes of many conflicts are directly related to or fuelled by valuable natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, oil, timber or water. Addressing the ownership, control and management of natural resources is crucial to maintaining security, restoring the economy and building sustainable peace,” he added.

The Clinton observance of the UN event will be opened at 8:00 am by the Arboretum Drumming Circle.  “Thirsting for Peace” is the theme for the galaxy of events that will fill the Day which is open to the public, free of charge.

Clinton Franciscan Sisters Joan Theiss of Teresa Kunkel will lead the Prayer for the International Day of Peace beginning at 8:45 am. The International Day of Peace offers people globally a shared date to think about how, individually, they can contribute to ensuring that natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner, thus reducing potential for disputes, and paving the road to a sustainable future.


The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982.  In 2001, the General Assembly established September 21 as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

The purpose of the UN vigil is to demonstrate the power of prayer and other spiritual observances in promoting peace and preventing violent conflict as well as to raise public awareness and to support peacemaking worldwide.  The vigil on the UN International Day of Peace is observed in countless ways in 202 nations.

The Clinton Franciscans have sponsored a local observance of the International Day of Peace at The Canticle every year since 2001.

“This year we are structuring our day-long observance as a day of retreat,” explained Mary Smith OSF, vice president of the congregation and retreat minister at The Canticle.  “We invite everyone to join us for the whole day or for any part of the day,” she explained.  “We have a wide range of presentations with ample time for quiet prayer and contemplation.”

At 10 am, the Rev. Peter Sickles, pastor of Christ Episcopal Church, Clinton, will offer a reflection and lead prayer for peace.  Rev. Richard Okumo, pastor of Church of the Visitation, Camanche, will preside at Eucharistic Liturgy beginning at 11 am.  The noon prayer will be “The Celtic Path to Peace.”

Clinton Franciscan Sister Maureen Becker, former hospital chaplain and pastoral minister, will offer a reflection on “Peace Through Healing” beginning at 1 pm.  At 1:45 pm, Sister Michael Marie Burns will explore how St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi lived lives of nonviolence and peacemaking.

Sister Mary Smith and Sister Hilary Mullany will lead a reflection on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, “A Path to Peace,” at 3:00 pm, following by the Rev. Scott Nesbitt of First United Presbyterian Church, Clinton, who will address “Praying for Peace.”

Members of Clinton’s L’Arche community will lead prayer beginning at 6 pm.  Clinton L’Arche has been an integral part of the Day of Peace observance at The Canticle for many years.  The Day will close with Evening Liturgy of the Hours.  Refreshments will be served afterward.

There is no charge for participants, however, those planning to spend the day and have lunch at The Canticle are asked to make a reservation by calling Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611.

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