St. Pius X Parish in Omaha hosts Bethlehem Peace Light
A Peace Light starting in Bethlehem found its way to an Omaha parish Dec. 7.
Spreading a message of peace to people of all faiths, the Peace Light originates from the eternal flame in the Grotto of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and it was part of a ceremony at a 7 a.m. Mass at St. Pius X Church.
Every year since 1986, Vienna Radio has sponsored an orphan from Austria to travel to Bethlehem with a lantern. The lantern is lit and taken to Vienna, Austria, where the World Organization of Scouting Movement converges, and scouts representing more than 30 countries light lanterns and take them back to their respective countries.
Susie Shoemaker, whose three children attended St. Pius X, helped arrange the visit through her second cousin, Philip Quinn, a Boy Scouts of America scoutmaster with Troop 1548 in Washington, D.C. Although the flame has come to America for more than 10 years, she said it was the first time it has been brought to the archdiocese.
Quinn drove with the flame in a travel kit to keep it lit from Washington to Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha and Grand Island, before handing it off in Denver to the next traveler, who took the light first to Albuquerque, N.M., and then to stops in California. Quinn said he has traveled with a flame several times, including when he lived in Europe.
During Mass, celebrated by Father Michael Eckley, pastor, an Advent candle and a five-day candle were lit from the light. Joe and Ted Novotony, scouts and members of St. Pius X Parish, helped light the candles.
Parishioners who light candles from the flame have used it to light Christmas candles and spread the flame to candles in other homes, Quinn said.