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The Interfaith Alliance for Immigrants had its annual prayerful gathering Wednesday night at the Islamic Center of St. Joseph.

More than 100 people of all faiths and nationalities gathered on Wednesday evening inside the Islamic Center at 2325 Messanie St. for the annual Prayerful Gathering.

The gathering, hosted by the Interfaith Alliance for Immigrants, is intended to show people from all walks of faith and ethnicity how much we all have in common, explained Father Ron Will of St. Francis Catholic Church.

“Our purpose is to raise awareness, appreciation and value of every human person, and sometimes immigrants are looked down upon and seen as a problem. We’re trying to celebrate them as a gift to the community, and just realize we’re all immigrants to this country,” he said.

The audience listened to songs and readings from from several different faith traditions. The gathering also got to hear guest speaker Juan Martinez speak about his journey from Mexico to the United States, and how he hasn’t seen his family in several years.

“Pray for the immigrants and everything, not only for myself but everybody, because Jesus loves everybody,” Martinez said.

Dr. Ali Kamali also talked about his experiences as a Muslim Iranian living in Northwest Missouri.

After the event, the audience was treated to a feast of foods and desserts from other cultures and countries.

Terry Turbak attended the gathering because she felt the community needs to celebrate all the diversity here in the city.

“I’m here to learn more about other cultures than my own, and hope to meet people from different cultures and make friends,” Turbak said.

Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.

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