By Kathryne Rubright
Originally published by the Pocono Record
Burning at the Middle Smithfield Township building is a flame that originated all the way in Bethlehem.
The International Peace Light was delivered Monday evening by Francis Oquendo, chaplain for Boy Scout Troop 87, and Louis Santiago, the troop’s scoutmaster.
Oquendo retrieved the light from JFK International Airport, driving home with the windows down as the flame burned in an oil lamp stabilized in a bucket of sand.
According to peacelight.org., “Each year, a child from Upper Austria fetches the light from the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born.”
Contained in mining lamps, the light is flown from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Vienna, Austria. From there, it’s distributed across Europe and flown to New York City. Scouting groups then share the Peace Light around the United States.
The light’s spread can be tracked in the “Peace Light – North America” Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/PeaceLightNorthAmerica/.
Those who take the light “should be a vessel of peace,” Oquendo said.
For those who want their own piece of the Peace Light, it will remain lit through at least Christmas at the township building, 147 Municipal Drive, East Stroudsburg. There’s also a flame at Church of St. John, 5171 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg.