Our Sion Community in Manchester has chosen to say a little of the commemorations we had here for the first anniversary of the bombing when 23 people died, 200 were injured, many with life changing injuries and over 900 traumatized. There were all kinds of different events during the week. There was a memorial service in the Manchester Cathedral Prince William came and Theresa May; in the Catholic cathedral of Salford we went to a special liturgy wo remember the dead celebrated by the Bishop John Arnold. Then on the Friday I went to a day of silent prayer and contemplation for World peace in Manchester cathedral which was very moving. We were over a hundred people for the full day event which comprised two powerful times of silent meditation as well as readings, prayers and reflections from about ten different faiths. The “Together Unafraid” picture above is a huge panel which was made by many different people from Manchester, different faiths, races and cultures. It was worked on by the resident artist in the cathedral and here we have some little details from it.
To finish the day of silent meditation for peace we had a flag ceremony. 200 flags covering all the countries of the world had been made by hand by Japanese women. These women pray for the country whose flag they are making, pray for that country as they make the flag and after they have finished. We took each flag and as the name of the country was called we prayed for peace in that country. It was a powerful sense of solidarity within the whole world and a deep desire for peace. I felt privileged to be part of this. We also had “Trees of Hope which went from Victoria station through the city to St Anne’s Square. On each tree messages were written and hung, thoughts, prayers, longings for healing and peace. Anyone could write one of the cards which were hung on the trees and these trees will now stay in the city centre. It has been an important time for the city and for ourselves as part of this community. (Sr. Anne McNally, NDS, Manchester)