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Pray for Peace in Point State Park

Representatives of Pittsburgh’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities will gather at Point State Park Wednesday for a 15-minute silent prayer vigil focused on ending violence and conflict.

Starting at noon, participants will hold white flowers and pray for peace in Central America, Ukraine, and elsewhere. The ceremony will end a quarter hour later with the ringing of a bell.

Helene Paharik, associate general secretary with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said the prayer will not include any spoken words or speeches.

“We wanted to be clear that this isn’t a political gathering,” she said. “It’s not a partisan activity. It’s truly a spiritual gathering where members of our community pray for those who are suffering and pray that these conflicts can be resolved.”

From the date, Aug. 6 being the 69-year anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, to the location, almost everything about the vigil is symbolic, according to Paharik.

“The location of the prayer is significant, as it’s at the confluence of two rivers to form one,” she said. “So, it’s a place that, for us, is a sign of unity and tranquility.”

Paharik also said anyone is invited to participate in the vigil regardless of their religious affiliation.

“It’s for all individuals, people of faith and of no faith, to come and just witness something different, something different than retaliation and conflict,” she said.

The prayer is sponsored by The Council on American – Islamic Relations, The Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee and Christian Associates.

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."