This was an interfaith celebration on the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, where over 400 attended, representing 8 religious communities. The Day of Prayer and Action for Children in El Salvador took place at Cuscatlan Park, an emblematic landmark in the lives of people in the Salvadoran capital city. Most of the attendees were children, boys and girls. The celebration began with the two masters of ceremony from different religious communities: a young woman, a leader of the Catholic Saint Francis parish, who with characteristic genuineness and radiance presented the program. She was accompanied by the spiritual guide of the Muslim community, who read beautiful texts chosen for the occasion with such sweetness that the audience was made to reflect on each word. Along with the selection of readings from the sacred texts of the principal religions, one by one the protagonists of the celebration were presented.
The first to address the audience was the Jewish rabbi, who read a moving prayer: “Our God, God of our fathers, Creator of the universe, source of all life, God of all humankind, loving Father… I pray and supplicate on behalf of our children, born and to be born, because they are the best hope for our world, the compensation for our labor, the fulfillment of our dreams, the guarantee of our immortality and testimony that God has not lost hope in man.”
Second, the public had the opportunity to learn more about the GNRC initiative, its objectives and GNRC’s experience in the Salvadoran context. This talk was presented by a youth from the Calvinist Reformed Church, a member of the steering committee.
Then it was time to listen to a junior youth from the Bahá’í community explain the importance of DPAC and the date associated with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The last two prayers were recited by two sisters, children of the Bahá’í community: the youngest, a beautiful little 5-year-old who, as a gift to all those committed to working for the well-being of children, memorized the prayer for children that had been chosen for all the Latin American celebrations; then her 8 year old sister, in her beautiful young voice, sang a child’s prayer set to a lovely melody: “Oh God, Educate these children. These children are the plants of Thine orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow, the roses of Thy garden… Let Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and develop, and appear in the utmost beauty.”
Closing the formal proceedings, there were cultural and artistic presentations, notably a juggling act put together by youth of the Bartolome de las Casas Center; a youth orchestra and chorus whose songs carried the call for social-justice, prepared by the Monsignor Romero Choir of the Saint Francis parish; “The dance of religious unity” a choreography set up by junior youth of the Bahá’í Community along with youth from other religious communities in the Network, an interfaith cast of dancers from the Bahá’í, Muslim, Christian and faiths as well as youth who profess no particular faith, but share the work of erecting the Kingdom from a lay spirituality.
The program ended with a surprise appearance of a rising young star in El Salvador, singer Shaka of the Shaka and Dres duo, who sang a selection of songs with underlying messages on transforming conflict and social peace.
After the program came time for sharing, and the children and other participants were given home-made style ice-cream and cotton-candy, served by local craftsmen. The children also received a hand-crafted kite as a memento, and they immediately proceeded to run about the park hoping to fly them…. expressing the same hope we share that the prayers we send heavenward might be heard by the Blessed presence of the Creator, so that boys and girls may have life, and live in abundance.