Western Manitoulin celebrates World Day of Prayer, Cuba

Volunteers, residents and staff of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay take part in the World Day of Prayer ecumenical service held at the Lodge last Friday.

WESTERN MANITOULIN—The World Day of Prayer was begun by women in Canada and the US in 1922 and is now observed in more than 170 countries, serving as a vehicle to promote ecumenism and spiritual growth, social justice awareness and cultural understanding.

The 2016 World Day of Prayer ecumenical service was prepared by a women’s group from Cuba under the theme ‘Receive Children. Receive Me,’ and was celebrated last week at St. Andrew’s United Church, Silver Water and at the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay.

“People across the world are holding similar ceremonies,” said Reverend Laurie Howard at the service held at the Manitoulin Lodge with residents of the nursing home, volunteers and some members of staff taking part. “So our prayers, messages and songs will be connected with people everywhere.”

John Dubois has visited the “non-resort” Cuba annually since 1989, he told the Silver Water gathering.  “Cubans are warm, hospitable people who are pleased to share their history and culture,” he said.  “Women play a strong role in the local economy,” Mr. Dubois explained, displaying a number of cottage-industry products, including hand-crafted items of wood and leather.

Recognizing that the trade embargo imposed by the United States in 1960 has led to decades of economic isolation and a shortage of material goods, Mr. Dubois has provided  backpacks and school supplies for the children of a Cuban family he has befriended because those items are difficult to obtain.

Cuba is a beautiful place, Mr. Dubois said, but its real beauty is its people.