Peace Light burning in Camden

Peace Light burning in Camden

The 2016 Peace Light burns on a candle next to a bust of Saint John Paul II in Saint Joseph Church, South Camden.
Photo by James A. McBride

Saint Joseph Parish in Camden received the 2016 Peace Light, courtesy of the Garden State Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Peace Light is an international effort that originates each year in Upper Austria, when a child from that region goes to Bethlehem to fetch the Light from the grotto where Jesus was born. The Light is flown to Austria where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from countries across Europe, whose members take it back to their countries with a message of peace.

Since 2001, the Light has been transported to New York with the hope that its light will spread like the branches of a huge tree across the continent. The Boy Scouts of America have accepted the responsibility for distributing the Light throughout the United States.

This is the second year that Saint Joseph’s Polish parish has had the privilege of receiving the Peace Light, thanks to the efforts of Joe Brennan, the Diocese of Camden Scouting Minister General Chair, explained Father Krzysztof Wtorek, administrator.

The parish has invited Scouts to participate in several parish events in recent years, according to Henry Szychulski, president of Saint Joseph’s History Society of South Camden. Last May, the Scouts completed a service project in which 1,000 packages of necessities were assembled for distribution to U.S. servicemen and women about to be deployed overseas.

The 2016 Peace Light was brought to Saint Joseph’s Polish church last week, and it is displayed on the altar along with the parish’s first-class relic of Saint John Paul II.

Anyone who brings a new, unburned candle can take away a flame from the Peace Light to share with family and friends. For more information about the Peace light, visit www.peacelight.org/.

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