Malta should become a beacon of peace - Coleiro Preca

The President addressed the people gathered at the humble Flame of Peace Ceremony at San Anton Gardens, and asked them never to forget the importance of peace

President Coleiro Preca lights a candle from the Peace Flame
President Coleiro Preca lights a candle from the Peace Flame

The Flame of Peace Ceremony, dates back to 1986, when a radio station in Austria, inaugurated the ceremony as part of a charitable mission for children in need.

Addressing those assembled at San Anton Gardens for the ceremony this morning, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca stated that "Peace is not simply the absence of squabbling and fighting in our streets, but it is most of all about acceptance towards others."

The ceremony is a symbolic gesture and a reminder of the importance and necessity of peace around the world. Every year, before, Christmas, a child is chosen to bring the flame to their own country from Vienna where it originates. This light is then used to illuminate various Christmas dinners and other religious celebrations, particularly for those who are in need, like the infirm and the elderly.

This year Malta's Baden Powell scout group collaborated with a scout group from Trapani for the occasion, however, the group was unable to make its journey to Malta due to the recent weather conditions in Malta. A representative then went on to explain that the ceremony is meant as a reminder of peace in spite of the cultural and religious diversity which now defines our country. 

A few young members of the scouts group then recited a special poem about peace for the occasion, and the talented CentreStage theatre company performed one of their many aptly chosen numbers as a follow up.

The chairperson of the John XXIII Peace Lab voluntary organisation, Emmanuel Scicluna, then said a few words about the organisation's mission and about the significance of the event. The President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca then began her speech by thanking the aforementioned organisation for its work for the creation and maintaining of peace.

Coleiro Preca then continued by reiterating the importance of peace, stressing the importance of not taking peace for granted. She insisted that acceptance of each other in spite of our differences is the first step towards building peace. She then continued by emphasizing that we should not turn a deaf ear to the problems of the world, and that it is our moral responsibility to spread peace to other neighbouring countries.

The President then concluded her speech by stating that this humble ceremony should serve as a resolution for the New Year. A resolution for Malta to become a beacon and an example of peace for other countries to follow.

After the President's speech, there followed a procession where the leaders of various organizations present at the event, lined up to light a candle from the Flame of peace. This was in turn followed by Coleiro Preca planting an olive tree (a symbol of peace) in the San Anton Gardens. The ceremony then concluded with the President taking the flame to the palace chapel.

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