A prayer vigil held July 24 on the front lawn of the Kankakee County Courthouse drew pastors and lay

Fr. John Peeters, left, shares a Scripture reading

leaders from several religious congregations, including Fr. John Peeters, CSV, pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Kankakee.

They gathered as people of faith, praying for refugee and immigrant children, currently separated and detained at the Mexican border. The prayer vigil was not designed as a political rally or to endorse any political party or agenda.

Rather, it sought to bring God’s power and presence into the midst of this important national issue. Consequently, the vigil drew residents and families of all ages, who came together to pray and take comfort in the Scripture readings and prayers led by Fr. Peeters and other religious leaders.

“Hopefully, our prayers, added to those of many others, will help those children and young people,” Fr. Peeters said, “as well as adults, who, as immigrants today, are searching for peace and security for themselves and their loved ones.”

For Fr. Peeters, the vigil was a personal response. As a Viatorian serving in the Bourbonnais/Kankakee region for nearly 20 years — both as an associate pastor at Maternity BVM and for the last 11 years as pastor at St. Pat’s — he has come to know families in the region, as he accompanies them during the joys and sorrows of life.