The Words of the Haider Family
Vienna, Austria - A World Peace Blessing Ceremony was held February 21 at the Radisson Hotel in Vienna, organized by the Family Federation for World Peace, the Universal Peace Federation, and the Austrian Women's Federation.
The Banquet Hall was packed with 144 people attending the program. Most of them were Ambassadors for Peace who are leaders of various NGOs as well as many members of the organizing federations who wanted to be part of this unique event. The young generation was well represented. In addition, two Ambassadors to Austria and the UN in Vienna joined the event with their wives and found this ceremony deeply meaningful for their own lives.
Mr. Peter Haider, Secretary general of UPF in Austria, led the program, introducing and explaining the different parts of the ceremony to the 25 couples participating. Mr. Peter Zöhrer, president of the Family Federation, explained the ideal of the family as the final ideal of God's creation process and the unique gift each participating couple was about to receive with the World Peace Blessing through Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. This was followed by prayers from different religious traditions: Mrs. Zena Eggough, a Christian born in the Caribbean, Dr. Fuat Sanac from the Austrian Muslim Association, and the "Dede" representing the Alevi faith with roots in Turkey, blessed everybody with words from their respective faith.
Holy water was sprinkled on the couples, who recited the blessing pledge, reaffirming their marriage vows. Mr. and Mrs. Zöhrer offered a blessing invocation prayer. An atmosphere of tranquility and peace felt by everyone.
Congratulatory speeches were given by Mrs. Angelita Hussein, who attended the World Peace Blessing in San Marino a few weeks ago. She is a devout Christian born in the Philippines who has been married for many years to a Muslim from Egypt. Mag. Maria Neuberger-Schmidt, a family counselor and educator, expressed her gratitude for being invited to participate in such a meaningful ceremony. Dr. Amir Bayati, who had just returned the day before from Korea, where he attended UPF's International Leadership Conferences and the festivities of the 90th birthday of Father Moon, spoke with enthusiasm about his experiences there. Before a traditional Viennese dinner was served to everybody, a huge cake was cut to celebrate this World Peace Blessing.
Beautiful music throughout the program contributed to the festive and joyous atmosphere. A Viennese waltz, songs by the Four Tunes ensemble, and Italian, Austrian and Russian opera songs concluded the program.
Mr. Haider, who was a driving force in the preparations of the event, described the event as the fruit of many years of preparation. Several Ambassadors for Peace expressed how deeply they were touched by the sacred content of the celebration and the stunning beauty of the atmosphere. One couple exclaimed: "Thank you for giving us a glimpse of how heaven must look like. We will always remember this precious moment during our entire life!"
E. Cook, P. Haider and P. Zoehrer contributed to this report.