Capuchins to host interfaith prayer service for peace

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published September 2, 2017

 The Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Solanus Casey Center in Detroit will be hosting an interfaith prayer service for peace at St. Bonaventure Monastery on Thursday, Sept. 21. The center’s workers and volunteers marched earlier in the summer for peace throughout the city.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Solanus Casey Center in Detroit will be hosting an interfaith prayer service for peace at St. Bonaventure Monastery on Thursday, Sept. 21. The center’s workers and volunteers marched earlier in the summer for peace throughout the city.

Photo provided by Nancy Ann Turner

DETROIT — The Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Solanus Casey Center in Detroit are inviting people of all faiths to join them for a prayer service encouraging peace in the community and the world.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at the St. Bonaventure Monastery Chapel at 1780 Mount Elliott St. in Detroit. Prayers will be offered, speeches will be made, and performers will sing hymns with the crowd. This is the 10th year the Capuchins have hosted such an event.

“About 10 years ago, I had been working at the soup kitchen for 18 years, and as much good as the Capuchins do in the community, we never spoke out for peace, and because we have a lot of trust and credibility in the area, and I spoke with the former director of the soup kitchen, Brother Jerry Smith, and he agreed it’s important to speak out,” said Sister Nancy Ann Turner, a Dominican sister who is one of the key organizers of the prayer service.

The event will be held in conjunction with the International Day of Peace, a United Nations-driven day to focus on world peace and the aspects of society that drive people apart.

“It was started by the U.N. several years ago, and (this local prayer service) gives the people of Detroit a chance to be in communion with those around the world praying and working for peace,” said Turner. “We are doing it in union with the whole world, and that gives it energy and strength.”

The St. Charles Praise Dancers and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen Choir will perform at the prayer service. Speakers at the event will include Detroit Free Press columnist and activist Rochelle Riley and environmental specialist Naim Edwards. 

“It opens with some music and some prayers and welcoming speeches,” said Turner. “There will be a dance group symbolizing working together for peace. Rochelle will then speak on the topic of bringing peace to the people of Detroit, and then we have Naim Edwards, who’s an environmental specialist, who will be speaking about bringing peace to the land of Detroit. Then we will encourage people to plant a seed symbolizing a particular person they want to build a better relationship with. We will finish with cookies from the soup kitchen bakery.”

Security will be provided for the event and the parking lots to ensure safety.

Turner said the event is dependent on people coming together for the common goal of peace and community improvement. Traditionally, they have seen many of the Detroit area’s best and brightest from among several different faiths come out in support of the event.

“We get attendance from many churches and mosques from around the city, as well as schools, youth groups and environmental advocacy groups. We draw from a lot of places in Detroit,” said Turner. “We’re struggling with so much classism and violence and racism, and somehow all of us — Catholics, Protestants, Jewish people, Muslims and all — need to work together and pray for peace, and this is a way we can do that. We also want to make a better city for our children and commit ourselves to do whatever it takes to build a more peaceful city.”

Turner said a lot of people are worried about the challenges to peace facing the world today, and she hopes this event will aid them in finding hope. She also said that this year is an opportunity to look back on how far the city of Detroit has come in terms of peace and social justice, as well as how far the community has to go.

“I think there’s been a lot of soul searching this summer with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit uprising, and people don’t want to just look back, but ask what still needs to change and what do we still need to do,” said Turner. “There are still lots of issues that divide people, but we can work together for a better future.”