Prayer gathering in Naperville to support earthquake relief in Nepal

  • Leaders from many different faiths will gather Friday in Naperville to pray on behalf of earthquake victims in Nepal.

    Leaders from many different faiths will gather Friday in Naperville to pray on behalf of earthquake victims in Nepal. AP file photo

Updated 5/5/2015 4:32 PM

The power of prayer will be put to work Friday in Naperville on behalf of earthquake victims in Nepal.

Volunteers with the Chicago chapter of a Hindu faith-based nonprofit are planning an interfaith prayer meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.


Faith leaders from Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish traditions are participating in the event that aims to "bring all faiths together to pray" for those who are suffering after the April 25 earthquake, organizer Prasad Garkhedkar said.

"There has been a huge loss of human life," Garkhedkar said about the quake, which has killed at least 7,000 people, triggered landslides that have washed away roads and toppled entire villages and historic sites. "All sorts of things have been destroyed."

The prayerful gathering scheduled for Naperville will offer a way for people of all beliefs to "build a community here with sensitivity around humanity" and concern for earthquake victims, he said.

Garkhedkar volunteers with the Chicago Chapter of the nonprofit Sewa International, which gets its name from a Sanskrit word that means "service over self." The organization is trying to collect $1 million for relief efforts in Nepal, including distribution of first aid supplies, water bottles, food and blankets.

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Attendees will be able to make a donation to the Sewa International fund for Nepal, but Garkhedkar said the main purpose of the gathering is communication with a higher power.

"Every faith believes in prayer," Garkhedkar said. "If we collectively pray, we will be satisfied that we have done something for this cause."

Similarly, Aadil Farid, president of Islamic Center of Naperville, said members of his faith feel it's part of their "duty to God" to offer moral, ethical, spiritual and financial support when tragedy strikes. Interfaith prayer meetings such as the one scheduled for Friday help fulfill all elements of that duty.

"Our faith directs us to be concerned not just with ourselves but with humanity in general," Farid said.

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