South Wales Evening Post – April 3, 2009
article by Kay Byrne
School pupils are saying prayers for world peace on a special pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi this Easter. Almost 40 youngsters from St John Lloyd Catholic Comprehensive School in Llanelli set off on Maundy Thursday (March 20) on their annual tour of holy sites.
The pilgrimage is this year focusing on the Peace Mala, the symbol of the Swansea-based charity set up to combat religious intolerance in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
The Peace Mala is a bracelet with beads representing the major world faiths that is now used as a teaching aid in schools all over the world.
The St John Lloyd pupils will say the peace prayers of the faiths represented on the Peace Mala during their 10-day tour of holy sites in Italy.
“Religion is often portrayed as the cause of wars, but it is in fact the political extremists who hijack religion to their own ends,” said assistant head teacher Ricky Perrott.
“We use the Peace Mala in assemblies to emphasise that all religions have the same peaceful message at their heart – that you should treat others as you would wish them to treat you.”
The children attended the Pope’s Mass at St Peter’s in Rome on Easter Sunday and will also be saying prayers at the birthplace of St Francis of Assisi, where the interfaith movement was launched in 1987 by Pope John Paul II.
“We will be lighting Peace Mala candles at each sacred place, which will burn for seven hours after the peace prayers have been said.
“We will also be leaving Peace Mala leaflets at each place in the hope of spreading its message further,” said Ricky.