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World Day of Prayer, an event that unites Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women and men, will be observed Friday around the world and in 30 Buffalo-area locations.

This year's service, the 114th annual event, is titled "Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action." It was written by Christian women of Samoa and is coordinated in the United States by Church Women United. It will be conducted in 170 countries and regions around the world.

Buffalo-area observances include:

An ecumenical service for the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda area will be held at 7 p.m. in St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Elmwood Avenue and Sheridan Drive, Town of Tonawanda.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 7630 Boston State Road, Boston, will host an ecumenical service sponsored by five area churches at 10 a.m.

A community service will be held at 10 a.m. in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 520 Oak St., East Aurora.

The Beechwood Service Guild will sponsor a service at 10:30 a.m. in the Beechwood Residence, 2235 Millersport Highway, Getzville.

Order elevates ex-WNYer

Brother John-Joseph Dolan, a former Lackawanna resident, has been elected to a high leadership position in the International Order of Conventual Franciscan Friars Minor.

In a precedent-setting action, Dolan, 49, was elected an assistant general of the order during an international gathering in Ariccia, Italy. In that position, he will serve as an assistant, representing English-speaking Friars, to the order's minister general, the Rev. Joachim A. Giermek, a Sloan native.

Dolan's selection was precedent-setting because traditionally the position is held by a priest.

A graduate of the former Baker-Victory High School, Lackawanna, Dolan entered the Franciscans in 1969. He has served as secretary and assistant provincial of the Immaculate Conception Province since 1997.

Jewish panel to hear Tokasz

Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga, will be featured speaker during the annual Membership Brunch of the American Jewish Committee of Western New York from 10 a.m. to noon March 11 in Westwood Country Club, 772 N. Forest Road, Amherst.

Tokasz, who participated last December in a study program for state government leaders in Israel, will discuss "Israel -- a View from the Inside." The program was arranged by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee. For brunch reservations, call the American Jewish Committee office at 877-6234.

Speaker known for healing

The Rev. Peter B. Coughlin, director of Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Ontario, Canada, will be featured speaker at a breakfast meeting of Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic women, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10 in Samuel's Grande Manor, 8750 Main St., Clarence.

The founding editor of "Bread of Life" Magazine, Coughlin is known internationally as a conference speaker and for his healing ministry. His topic will be "God's Faithful Promise of a New Heart and a New Spirit in His People."

Tickets are $11.50. For reservations, call Shirley Perfetti at 694-6156.

Nuns' day of prayer, fasting

Members of 14 congregations of sisters in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese will observe a day of prayer and fasting Friday to focus on broken relationships and the need for healing in individuals, the church, society and the world.

Sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious as a year-long observance, Friday and Dec. 7 will be observed nationally with about 1,360 sisters in the Buffalo diocese participating in a day of prayer and fasting with 81,200 sisters across the United States. On other days throughout the year, individual congregations of sisters are marking days of prayer and fasting.

The sisters have invited lay people, men religious and priests and bishops to join them.

5 to join lay ministry

Five church members who have completed more than 50 hours of training will be commissioned as Stephen ministers during the worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, 4369 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.

Individuals trained in the ministry are lay people who reach out to others to provide help and support and offer comfort in time of need. Those commissioned will make a commitment to serve for one year.

Spiritual healing is topic

The Rev. Sarah M. Rieth, an Episcopal priest who works as a pastoral psychotherapist, will present a five-part series on spiritual healing from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays beginning March 7 in the St. Columban Center, 6892 Lakeshore Road, Derby.

Rieth, who assists victims of abuse in her private practice, will lead participants on "The Healing Journey." Reservations should be made by Wednesday by calling the center at 947-4708.

Bona professor to speak

Joel H. Benington, assistant professor of biology at St. Bonaventure University, will give a public lecture on the relationship between science and religion at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Murphy Professional Building on the university campus near Olean.

Benington's topic will be "Are Humans Naturally Religious? The Role of Spirituality in Human Evolution."

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