WHIPPANY, N.J. – The Bethlehem Peace Light was shared during a ceremony at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Whippany, N.J., on Saturday, December 7.
Participating were members of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization, including senior members of the “Ti, Shcho Hrebli Rvut” sorority who organized and conducted the ceremony, members of the area’s scout organizations, including Latvian and Polish scouts, as well as parishioners.
The Peace Light arrived in the United States a day earlier, landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where a special ceremony was held at Our Lady of the Skies Chapel. The light came from Vienna, brought there by Austrian scouts who light a lantern from the everlasting flame that burns in Bethlehem. Scouts worldwide, including Plast members in Ukraine, participate in distributing the light.
Members of “Ti, Shcho Hrebli Rvut” travel to JFK Airport to receive the flame and then distribute it further, doing so at the express request of the National Board of Directors of Plast U.S.A.
The ceremonies at St. John’s Church were led by Larissa Wowk, and a talk was given by Lada Bidiak. The Rev. Stepan Bilyk, pastor, also addressed the gathering.
As Plast scouts, directed by Kalyna Boychuk, sang the beautiful Bethlehem Peace Light song written by Solomiya Keyvan, a Plast member in Ukraine, all present had the opportunity to light their lanterns and candles from the Bethlehem Peace Light.