Articles from the July 1997 Unification News
Blessings in Peru
by Fritz Piepenburg-Lima, Peru
After holding many Blessings seminar-introducing the Blessing and having people sign the Blessing applications-we finally embarked upon our first Blessing ceremony on May 25 in Lima. Altogether 155 previously married couples attended, and we had a very beautiful and high-spirited celebration. We hired a folklore musical group and everyone got up and danced at the conclusion (dancing is a vital part of virtually any social event here in Latin America).
Immediately after this successful event, we organized similar celebrations for the five other cities where centers have been established. Blessed couples from 1995 helped invite the guests and organize the ceremonies. By now we have close to 500 Blessed couples here in Peru. We are now holding Blessings anywhere and at any time. Our teams of Japanese and Peruvian brothers and sisters are going out every day, re-contacting those who already have signed the application and inviting them to one of our central ceremonies taking place three times and week at our center, or giving the Blessing right there in their homes.
One challenge here is how to work on a large scale without upsetting the Catholic Church. After all, some 95% of the population is Catholic. Catholicism has a powerful foundation and, because of it, people are quite religious and have a solid faith in God. We are always making the point that the Blessing is not for changing anyone's faith, but affirming our common Christian values and the need to live up to the teachings of our respective churches. In fact, our Korean president of the Federation likes to tell those attending that they should go back to their church and serve their Catholic priest even better than before. They should from now on behave as true Catholics and become exemplary families for their fellow believers. This is a very good approach, I believe.
Also, from recent speeches it is obvious that even the Pope is very concerned about the family structure (especially in Latin America) and calls for the establishment of sound and strong families as building blocks of a healthy and harmonious society. Well, we are doing exactly this job. Because of the vow of celibacy, the entire Catholic leadership for 2000 years up to the present could give little or no advice on the correct husband-wife relationship and how to establish sound families. The Pope, in short, is not supposed to know much about the opposite sex! Then how could he council on matters of partnership and matrimony? We can, because we have the experience and the Blessing. If the Catholic Church realizes that we are doing now what the church was trying to do for the past 2000 years-or the past 400 years in Latin America-namely, putting the teachings of Christianity and Catholicism concerning the family into a living reality, it should be able to appreciate the Family Federation and willingly cooperate with it. I do have this vision of the Catholic priest in every tiny village calling upon his people to come to the church by pairs and attend the Blessing ceremony, where all families can rededicate themselves to living up to the highest Christian and Catholic values.
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