Rego, mayor address importance of prayer during national observance

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i joined the rest of the nation in the National Day of Prayer Thursday, hosting two observances in the rotunda of the Mo‘ikeha Building.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in a proclamation to the Kaua‘i Interfaith Council during the brief ceremony.

He later presented a proclamation to the Kaua‘i Island Ministries following the Interfaith Council’s observance.

“This day is important because it is a reminder to all Americans that it should be a day of peace, where people of all races, religions, faiths, and sex will come together with one common purpose — peace,” said Kezya Rego of Koloa in an essay which earned an award from Joe McEvoy and Monroe Richman, representing the island’s Jewish people.

It is that spirit of unity that transcends socioeconomic, political, religious and ethnic differences that bring together citizens at state capitols, county court houses and on the steps of city halls, in schools, businesses, churches and homes to give thanks for our freedoms and blessings, states the mayoral proclamation announcing May 3 as National Day of Prayer.

“The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans and also signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning, and that we come together in peace and goodwill,” Carvalho said.

“The National Day of Prayer belongs to all people of faith on Kaua‘i as we celebrate our diversity, but also our unity in the acknowledgement of the power of prayer.”

Rego said the reason we celebrate peace on this day is to ralize that our nation is not based on discrimination or racism or prejudice, but to remember that we can all come together and celebrate our nation as a union.

On this annual observance which was created by joint resolution of the United States Congress in 1952, we are called to God in prayer to ask for his continued guidance, grace and protection and to intercede for our nation’s leadership in government, military, media, business, education and family, the proclamation states.

The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage, states the National Day of Prayer website. Since the first call to prayer in 1775 when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through the nation’s history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” in 1863.

In 1988, the 1952 joint resolution by Congress was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, permanently setting the first Thursday of each May as the National Day of Prayer, the website states.

Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed proclamations similar to the one signed by the President of the United States encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

“We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep,” said Shirley Dobson, the chairperson of the National Day of Prayer.

“I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”

Rego, in quoting Dobson, said, “She means that if we as Americans don’t take pride in celebrating our freedom, then we don’t deserve to be free. Celebrating this day is important because it is a national reminder that we as American people, can still rise together regardless of our differences and celebrate our freedom and pray for peace.”

Visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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