EAST FREETOWN, Mass. — Since 1986 a child, typically from Upper Austria (the birth place of “Silent Night”), has traveled to Bethlehem to light a lantern from a flame burning at the Star of Nativity Church in the cave that marks the place of birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The child then flies with the flame in a special lantern to Vienna and during a holy Mass the flame is shared with children delegates throughout Austria and Europe who then transport the flame across Europe. Canadian Scouts brought this tradition to North America in 2001.
Last year Scouts from Troop 333 in East Freetown obtained the flame of the Peace Light in New Hampshire and distributed it locally but in 2016 they traveled to JFK Airport in New York immediately after Thanksgiving to receive their own flame upon its arrival from Austria. The flame will be distributed at the conclusion of the 4 p.m. Mass at St. John Neumann Church December 10.
Individuals, churches or organizations who wish to obtain the light that day should bring a small kerosene lantern which may be safely transported. Small candles will also be available which, even after being extinguished, are said to now be “suffused” with the Peace Light and may later be relighted at home.
Senior patrol leader Jack Dompierre stated, “We gladly pass on the light as a sign of our enthusiasm of spreading the tidings of peace. It begins with peace within our own selves and our families which, hopefully, becomes peace in the world. Everyone who came to our distribution last year went away with a profound sense of wonder and awe that they actually held a candle burning with the flame from the place where Jesus was born.”
Organizations and churches who wish to obtain their own Peace Light prior to December 10 should contact Michael McCormack, chairman of the Fall River Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting at Michael@FallRiverScouting.org or 508-998-1218.