Mother of Peace: Episode 63
Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 10: The Challenge Of Realizing A Heavenly World, pg 308-311
The Summit, Blessing and YSP festivals were all broadcast live on national television and the feedback from the viewers was overwhelmingly positive.
The Summit began, and after inspiring addresses by current and former heads of state, His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria and the Africa chair of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), introduced me. During my keynote address, I proposed that São Tomé and Príncipe work together with me in realizing the model of a heavenly nation. I blessed São Tomé and Príncipe as “Heavenly São Tomé,” a nation blessed by God. Hearing this, the audience cheered.
Following my address, President Carvalho expressed his gratitude, sharing his profound appreciation for the various initiatives undertaken in the nation as well as the vision I had laid out during my address. President Carvalho also expressed a strong desire to forge an even stronger relationship and continue our work over the long term. He was particularly happy to hear the term “Heavenly São Tomé” and even referred to me as “Mother Moon.”
That evening, President Carvalho invited me and other heads of state to a state dinner in a beautiful seaside restaurant reserved for state functions. The gentlemanly President Carvalho guided me as we made our way along the sumptuous buffet, recommending delicious local dishes. I was moved by the sincere desire of the São Tomé government to develop their nation in a gracious and principled manner.
The following day, all government officers, including the President, the Prime Minister and the President of the National Assembly, as well as the former heads of state, gathered for the Blessing Festival. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Six hundred couples, most of them governmental leaders, religious leaders, and leaders of civil society from throughout São Tomé and neighboring Príncipe, gathered for the Blessing.
More than 10,000 couples had participated in a preliminary Blessing Ceremony and representatives were selected to attend this Blessing. I was moved by accounts of couples on the verge of divorce healing their differences and pledging to become ideal families through the Blessing. It was a magnificent family festival, and the eagerness of the families could be seen when at 8:00 a.m. the venue was full even though the Blessing was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Several couples had come before dawn. The festive mood in the National Assembly was indeed unique. As the time for the Blessing drew closer, the anticipation and eagerness of the couples could be felt.
Fifteen current and former heads of state from throughout Africa were seated on the podium and I sprinkled holy water on 60 couples representing the realms of government, religion and civil society. It was a beautiful, solemn occasion. The enthusiastic participation of all three branches of the São Tomé government as well as the people meant this was truly a national Blessing Ceremony. During my Blessing prayer, I stated that São Tomé and Príncipe had earned the qualification of the first nation to be a model for national restoration.
One particularly moving part of the Blessing program was the purity pledge by representatives of São Tomé’s youth.
As we prepared for these events, a local Catholic priest published a letter profoundly critical of the Unification Church, the Blessing Ceremony and the Universal Peace Federation. Nonetheless, the relationships we forged with the São Tomé government and people proved strong enough to bridge any theological differences. The government was firm in its commitment and the people were overjoyed to participate in the many programs that were held.
The day after the Blessing, IAYSP held what some said was the largest youth festival ever held in the nation.
As I was about to leave the country, the president of São Tomé and Príncipe bade me a sincere farewell with the kindest words: “São Tomé is your home and your country, so please come whenever you can.”
Energy and optimism in Europe
I’m particularly fond of the small European nation of Albania. During the Cold War era, Albania was one of the most impoverished nations in the world, but in the last 20 years the Albanian people have made great strides in developing their country. Their energy and optimism reminds me of my own Korean people.
In 2005, President Alfred Moisiu gave my husband and me a state welcome as we were traveling the world to launch the Universal Peace Federation. He was the first sitting head of state to do so. I remember saying to President Moisiu, “If you give us 2,000 young people to educate, we can help you change this nation.”
This challenge was fulfilled in October 2019 during the SouthEast Europe Peace Summit when 3,000 energetic school and college students gathered for the Youth and Students for Peace Rally in Tirana, followed by the launch of the Balkans Peace Road.
Earlier that same day, former President Moisiu, now a sprightly 90-year-old, and Senior Minister Elisa Spiropali welcomed me on behalf of the government to speak to the Albanian people at the Summit. We were joined on stage by President Hashim Thaçi of Kosovo and President Stevo Pendarovski of North Macedonia, and the event was broadcast live on national television.
I encouraged the Albanian people: “You do not need to be disappointed because you could not join the European Union. As you are the first, you need to embrace the people of Europe who are the last…. God will be with you wherever you go. From this point, if Albania overcomes all the pain of the past it is holding onto and is reborn as the heavenly nation of Albania attending God, it will not be a problem for Europe to become one.”
The following day, I conducted a Blessing Ceremony for 1,200 couples, representing 12,000 couples throughout Albania who had been blessed during 2018 and 2019. Albania is a moderate Muslim nation, and it is fortunate to house different religious traditions in harmony. Father Edmond Brahimaj, head of the World Bektashi Order, as well as imams and priests offered prayers of blessing in one accord.
In her congratulatory remarks, Monika Kryemadhi, the wife of Albanian President Ilir Meta, said it was the most beautiful event that had ever been held in the Palace of Congresses. On that day I declared that the nation had indeed become Heavenly Albania. I look forward to Albania becoming a great nation by living for the sake of other nations.