Bethlehem Peacelight coming to Bloomingdale church Dec. 17
Each year, a child from Upper Austria fetches the light from the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The light is then flown to Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries for use at ecumenical services throughout the Continent.
Scouts and guides can then take the light on to houses of worship, hospitals, homeless shelters, old people homes, prisons, and places of public, cultural and political importance -- to anybody who appreciates the significance of the "gift".
This year, the Ukrainian Scouting organization PLAST will bring the Bethlehem Peacelight flame to St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, 300 E. Army Trail Road in Bloomingdale, on Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 6:45 to 7 p.m.
The Peacelight will burn continuously through Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7, 2020. Other Scouting organizations, Christian churches and organizations are encouraged to come participate in the transfer and bring lanterns in order to take the flame and distribute in their communities. There will be a short prayer service after the transfer.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organized in 1986 by the Austrian Broadcasting Company and was part of a large charitable relief mission, Light Into Darkness, for children in need in Austria and abroad. Since 1989, there has been a great deal of co-operation between Scouts and Guides in many countries, which has allowed the light to travel throughout Europe.
The Peace Light first came to New York in 2001 by Canadian Scouts who brought it to Ground Zero. In 2004, the Austrian Scout Movement, Austrian Airlines and Boy Scouts of America International Division arranged to bring the 2004 Peace Light to New York on Dec. 4. Two security guards and Dr. Thomas Ertlthaler, international commissioner of Austrian Scouting, flew from Vienna with the Peace Light in two explosion-proof, British mining lamps, fueled by smokeless paraffin oil. Just 11 days earlier, Austrian Scouts had extracted the light from the eternal flame in Bethlehem.
Austrian Airlines has continued to bring the Peace Light in 2005-2019.
For more information, visit www.peacelight.org or call John Jaresko, president of St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, at (630) 202-5331.