Christian: Panera bread, Chile and the World Day of Prayer

FRIDAY, MARCH 4: Christian women of the world, unite! Today is the World Day of Prayer, a time to gather with other women and recognize the unbreakable link between prayer and action. On the first Friday of March each year, for almost a century, women around the globe devote a day to learning about their “sisters” in other regions, “experiencing” their difficult circumstances and receiving inspiration to act. (Learn more at the WDP site.) When perspectives are changed through learning, organizers hope that action will naturally follow.

A different country or region is chosen to host the World Day of Prayer each year, and in 2011, women will turn to Chile and examine the theme, “How Many Loaves Have You?” The women of Chile will open the day with a procession—many people carrying a “panera,” or everyday bread basket that symbolizes the sharing of bread. Christians in more than 170 countries will hear the biblical story of the Gospel of Mark involving Jesus’ miracle in the distribution of five loaves of bread and two fish to thousands of visitors; devotees will then ask themselves what they have to give. (Access resources, guides and more at the WDP site managed by the U.S. committee.)

In preparation for today’s services, Chilean women have discussed specific examples in their country’s history when evil was resisted by the formation of community. Women around the world are asked to pray today for the people of Chile, to take action in helping an impoverished country, and to make a difference in their own communities, by following the example of today’s reading.

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