If you've driven past one of our Norwalk Catholic School buildings recently you've probably noticed white doves displayed on the windows of St. Paul High, NCS junior high and elementary and the early childhood center.
These doves are all part of a "1,000 Doves of Peace" program that we celebrated throughout our school system. Christine Galati, our junior and senior high art instructor, approached me with the idea of displaying a common decoration at all our buildings to help showcase our newly consolidated school system. Doves seemed to be an appropriate symbol for what is needed in our world. With so much violence and hatred occurring all over the globe, is there something that we could use more than peace?
Our students were encouraged to reflect on some thing that each of them could do to bring just a little more peace to our schools, homes, community, nation, and world. These prayers and resolutions were then written on one of the doves that adorn our school windows. As I walk around our school buildings, I am amazed and inspired by the thoughts that are expressed by our young people. They ranged from very practical efforts in their homes to a more global perspective. Here are just some samples:
"I will not fight with my brother."
"To respect nature"
"To pray for world peace."
"To forgive those who have hurt me."
"My wish for peace is quiet."
"Healing for families who are separated from those they love."
"By helping others understand God and Jesus and to believe in them when they don't believe in themselves."
"To pray that our troops return home safely."
"One way that I can bring peace into my life is to not sweat the small stuff and pay more attention to what is really important in life."
As I pass along some of our students' thoughts and prayers for peace, I am encouraged to continue whatever efforts I can provide to be a more peaceable person. I hope that throughout your holiday season, you are blessed with peace and as you pass by our buildings and see our "1,000 Doves of Peace" you too will be inspired to add your own "Dove of Peace" and bring a little more peace to our world. May the Peace of the newborn Christ child which is beyond all understanding dwell always in your hearts! Merry Christmas.
The Rev. Dave Cirata is associate pastor at St. Paul Catholic Church.