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War stories: Prayers for peace as war begins
While many people were glued to their television sets getting details about the first shots being fired in Iraq, some took a different course.
More than one hundred people in Oak Harbor ventured to St. Augustines Catholic Church and attended a vigil to pray for peace.
The service coincided with the deadline President George W. Bush gave Saddam Hussein and sons to leave Iraq.
As the service progressed, news was being made about the first missiles being launched in Iraq. The people gathered in the church to sing, pray and listen to Bible readings.
We wanted to pray for peace for everyone in the world, said Oak Harbor resident Carman Camacho, who attended the service with her family.
Father Ronald Belisle, pastor at St. Augustine, got the idea for the service the day before when he was meeting with ministers from local churches who share the same Sunday readings.
I just felt something should be done, Belisle said.
Also in attendance at the service was Jim Christiansen, a Presbyterian minister who was invited to speak during the vigil.
His insights were very telling, Belisle said. He had a balanced and very compassionate point of view.
Christiansen mentioned that people attended the peace vigil for various reasons ranging from having loved ones in the Middle East to concern about the spread of anti-Americanism throughout the world.
The he also stressed that people have to be consistent in their prayers.
You cannot pray for peace and for war, Christiansen said.
During the vigil, a clipboard was passed around and people named loved ones who are in the Middle East. Their names will be placed on a prayer board and people will be invited to take a name and pray for them during the conflict.
Belisle added that the church will be open during the day every day so people can slip in to pray.