By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Christians from three local churches will unite with Christians around the world on the first Friday in March for the Annual World Day of Prayer. The Catholic Women’s League from St. Jean Baptiste Church, Morinville United Church and St. Andrews Anglican Church will put their hands and their prayers together at Heritage Lodge Mar. 1. The event takes place at 1:30 p.m. and all are welcome.
Mary Hittinger, one of the organizers of the local event, said the focus of prayer this year is France. “Every year it’s a different country, and this year it’s France,” Hittinger said, adding other years have focused on more economically depressed countries that were in need of help.
The theme for this year’s World Day of Prayer event was chosen by women in France who selected a theme based on the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew: “I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me.” The theme is accompanied by artwork by French artist Anne-Lise Hammann Jeannot that speaks to the idea of migration.
Started in North America in 1922, the international ecumenical prayer offering now takes in 117 countries and more than 2,000 communities across Canada alone. The organization meets once every five years to determine the next list of countries. Women in Egypt will prepare the theme for the 2014 iteration of the annual event.
Hittinger has been involved in the program for more years than she can remember. “The thing I really enjoy is the fact you get to meet the people from the other churches,” she said. “We’ve become very close.”
But above the fellowship of Christian fellowship, Hittinger fundamentally believes in the power of prayer. “I really think it’s wonderful, and I’m sure God listens to us regardless of what faith we are,” Hittinger said, adding she believes those prayers on behalf of the countries being lifted up are heard. “I could not live without prayer.”
Organizers are hoping for a solid turnout this year. Hittinger said all are welcome to attend the annual event, and to stay for refreshments afterwards. The event takes place at Heritage Lodge Mar. 1 at 1:30 p.m.