What is Peace Light North America?
The Peace Light, symbolic of the Light of Christ especially evident at Christmas, is meant to promote peace, harmony and unity among all people of the world regardless of race, ethnicity or creed. Many churches, Scouting, and associated community organizations use the Peace Light in Advent worship services, parish tree lighting events, and other special ceremonies. Some groups even maintain the Peace Light year-round using the flame to ignite their Sanctuary Lights, Baptismal Candles, and Votive Lamps.
Each year in late November, a child from Austria lights a lantern from the continuously burning candle in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the site of Jesus birth. The light, known as the Peace Light, stored in special explosion-proof lanterns, is then flown with a safety adviser back to Vienna, Austria, where it is shared with delegations from across Europe who distribute it with a message of Peace to their own countries for use at ecumenical services. Scouting organizations then take the light to houses of worship, hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and places of public, cultural and political importance - to anyone who appreciates the significance of the "gift".
In early December, Austrian Airlines representatives transport the Peace Light from Austria to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. A distribution ceremony of about 150 adults and children gather at the airport's Our Lady of the Skies Chapel to welcome the light of peace and kindle their own flames.
The light's pilgrimage across the U.S. begins from New York City via volunteers, many of whom are Scouts and Scouters associated with the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA, transferring and sharing it in their communities. Many other dedicated volunteers meet, share, and move the Light across North America, person-to-person, coast-to-coast. The Peace Light is a sign of hope. It has expanded from a small flame to a sea of lights in a few years and shines with its message to millions of people worldwide.
Please visit the History page for more background on the Peace Light in North America.