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Peace Light set to arrive

The International Peace Light will arrive in the Mahoning Valley on Thursday and will be available at JMJ Spiritual Connection store, 3434 Canfield Road, Cornersburg.

Mike Kupec, local Peace Light coordinator with Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America, said the Cub Scouts and Scouts from St. Christine Church will host a short outdoor ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday at the store.

For over 30 years, the Peace Light from Bethlehem has been spread throughout Europe by the cooperation of the Austrian Broadcasting Company — ORF (Linz), Austrian Airlines and the Austrian Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

Beginning in 2000, it has been flown to the United States.

Because of COVID-19 and travel restrictions in the United States and in Europe, the 2021 International Peace Light from Bethlehem cannot be flown here.

“Many Scouts across the Great Trail Council and Northeast Ohio have maintained the International Peace Light, keeping vigil over the flame throughout the years since 2015,” Kupec said.

He said the Peace Light is a continuous flame and originates in the grotto where the Christ child was born in Bethlehem and is delivered by a young Austrian child to the Austrian Airlines, where it is placed in two blast proof miners’ lamps and flown from Tel Aviv, Israel to Vienna, Austria. Here the light is then distributed throughout 20 European countries and overseas, including North America, via land routes and the Austrian Airlines as a symbol of peace.

The store will be hosting the light for the public to receive the flame through Jan. 8, 2022, during normal business hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, except holidays. Call the store at 330-270-5657 for details.

Kupec said anyone wishing to receive the Peace Light at the store should bring a windproof candle or lantern to receive the light and a message of peace. Anyone can also bring a new candle to have it lit by the flame and let it burn for a couple of minutes and then put it out.

He said the candle is now considered an “Infused Peace Light Candle.” This infused candle then can be sent to loved ones in other areas who are asked to then relight the candle and share the message of peace.

Individuals and organizations of all faiths and / or denominations are invited to bring a windproof candle or lantern to receive the Nativity of Bethlehem flame and take it back to their place of worship to provide this Peace Light to their own congregations to commemorate the Christmas season or take it home for their personal use for the holidays.

Kupec said the Great Trail Council is looking for additional locations to host the Peace Light to make it available to more people in the community. He said it would require that someone give it a suitable place of residence within their location. For information, call Kupec at 330-519-3988 (text or call) or mike.kupec@gmail.com or Bob Granchie at bobgranchie@sbcglobal.net.

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