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Peace Light of Bethlehem comes to First Presbyterian of Hammond
Ken Benitez
/ Categories: Latest Stories

Peace Light of Bethlehem comes to First Presbyterian of Hammond

In the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem there are fifteen oil lamps burning in the grotto where it is believed that Jesus was born. The monks who maintain that holy site have kept those lamps burning for 1,000 years as a reminder of the Light of Christ. Each year a child from Austria travels to Bethlehem to light a lantern in the grotto and then begin the process of sharing that light across the world. In most years the flame travels on a flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport where a group meets it the Our Lady of the Skies Chapel and then begins the process of sharing the light from person-to-person across North America. Sadly, 2020 is not like most years and the travel restrictions of the COVID-19 mean that the light did not travel from Bethlehem to the United States this year.

However, Keepers of the Light have kept it burning since last Christmas and are now sharing the light with those who would like to receive it. The Peace Light has now come to Hammond and is being kept at First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Barry Chance found out about the light last year but was unable to meet-up with someone who was transporting the light across the country. This year, however, he was able to connect with a Keeper of the Light in the Houston-area who drove to Lake Charles to share the light with a priest from New Orleans who shared it with him. He says of the light, “In this year when we are so worried about the transmission of a virus from person-to-person I want to remind people that something good can spread from person-to-person too.”

First Presbyterian Church invites anyone who would like to receive the light to come to the church between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday, December 20 or to the Christmas Eve Service at 5pm on Thursday, December 24. In order to receive the light, you will need a lantern or vigil candle so that you can safely transport it home. Those who receive the light often use it to light gas lamps on their porches or the pilot lights in their homes as a year-round reminder of the Light of Christ. Others choose to use it to mark this holy season by keeping it burning in a lantern or vigil candle until the Feast of the Epiphany and then looking forward to receiving it again the next December. If you are unable to pick-up the light in person you may also contact the church and Rev. Chance will bring the light to you between now and Christmas as time allows. For more information about the Peace Light and tips on safely transporting it visit for more information about First Presbyterian Church visit
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