Praying For Peace
By Askia Amon-Ra
Persons from different walks of life, faiths and religious backgrounds attended a special ceremony last week at Mary Queen of Heaven Church on East 56 Street in Mill Basin. The church’s pastor, Father Jamie Gigantiello (above right), presided simply calling the evening a time to "pray for peace."
During the hour-long service, Father Jamie, as he’s affectionately referred to by parishioners, spoke of historic American battles, such as Gettysburg and Valley Forge, and tragic American events, specifically the World Trade Center attacks, adding a flavor of nationalism to the event.
In addition to parishioners and members of the community, State Senator Carl Kruger (center), State Assemblyman Frank Seddio and City Councilman Lew Fidler (left) were in the crowd to hear the pastor pray on behalf of Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Father Gigantiello said, "The peace we seek is not just the absence of war or an end to a conflict, but that we learn to respect and understand each other, that we learn to live in peace with people of different religions, cultures, backgrounds and races."
The night, which included a mopment of silence as a Joint Color Guard from Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge entered, took a sober turn when the pastor presented a roll call of parish members and friends currently serving in the Armed Forces, some of who are fighting in Iraq.
The service ended with everyone singing "God Bless America."