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Interfaith meeting links to Assisi

Religions gather to show solidarity with message of Blessed John Paul and pray

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

ucanews.com reporter, Manila

Published: October 27, 2011 10:06 AM GMT

Updated: October 27, 2011 07:01 PM GMT

Interfaith meeting links to Assisi
The gathering of many faiths in Manila

Manila Church leaders hosted an interfaith prayer for world peace today "in solidarity" with participants of various religions invited by Pope Benedict XVI to the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. The prayer was attended by indigenous people and representatives of many religions. Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez of Manila delivered a message about the papal gathering in Assisi as the expression of the Holy Father's wish to continue the initiative of his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II. He had started the World Day of Prayer for Peace in 1986 "for religious leaders to assist with dialogue, and also to promote mutual understanding, collaboration and harmony in the world through respecting different religious traditions," said Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao, former chairman of the bishops' commission on inter-religious dialogue. John Paul II hosted a second gathering in 2002 after the terrorist attacks in the US in 2001 to condemn terrorism and armed aggression and for religious leaders to testify together that religions are committed to fostering peace, justice and understanding. After speeches of various leaders a short video presentation about the Assisi pilgrimage was shown. People paused for a moment of silence, shared flowers and symbolic offerings of peace and lit candles. Each religious group recited prayers one after another. Participants signed a joint statement for peace-building, justice, forgiveness, respect for women and condemnation of violence and terrorism during the interfaith prayer. Separate gatherings were held in Davao and other dioceses. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference’s Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue, said the gathering "is a way of saying that evangelization today is not only through proclamation but also through dialogue, and that sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ can also take a form of entering into dialogue with other religions.”

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