PATERSON, NJ - On Saturday morning, diverse ethnicities and faiths from Passaic County gathered for one hour at Paterson’s City Hall to pray for national peace and healing. Coordinated by Positive Action Ministry, Minister Eddie Tobal, Paterson Council Vice President Andre Sayegh, and Community Leader Lauren Murphy, the inter-faith ministerial assemblage offered prayers for world and national peace, leadership wisdom, women, youth, healing and for lives lost this week in Boston.
“I believe in the power of prayer and obviously Paterson needs prayer,” Sayegh said. “What happened in Boston should be a wakeup call for a lot us, that we need to be with each other and we need to pray together in times of crisis and peace.”
Positive responses from previous religious services in Passaic and Clifton motivated Tobal to replicate the ceremony.
“Indifferences and intolerances are what sometimes cause people to revert to violence," said Tobal. “Sometimes we tend to reject people who don’t talk or look like us. The man in the Boston tragedy said he didn’t have any friends in America. Today, we are trying to put aside our differences and come together for the good to give people hope for a better future. If we come forward, unite as a nation and stand together we shall overcome.”
“There is no bad time for prayer, but this is an especially good time to come together and show oneness in our community and throughout the world,” Councilman Ken McDaniel commented “With what happened in Boston, things are just going wrong. I had to be here today to participate when people want to come together. “
Prayers recited in various languages, and African American songs of hope such as “Lean On Me” and “I Won’t Complain,” reminded those assembled that regardless of religious beliefs, everyone faces the same problems - not just crime, but discord among ethnicities.
“This ancient five letter word [PEACE] has a place in this advanced world that we live in," Priest Yagnesh Misrtry commented. “Starting with the Stone Age man fought with stone and iron, in today’s advanced world of technology he is fighting with bombs.”
“The nature of fighting has not gone away, and addressing this issue, consider this: when man looked at the fishes, he wanted to swim, so he made a submarine. He looked at the birds and wanted to fly, so he made airplanes, yet man has not learned to look at his fellow man as a human being. Don’t fret over what you don’t have, pray and be grateful for what you do have," Mistry said.