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(Vatican Radio) In the face of widespread global conflicts, Pope’ Francis’ visit to the Swedish cities of Lund and Malmö for a joint commemoration of the Reformation will be “a sign of hope” to a divided and suffering world. That's the view of Rev, Martin Junge, General Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation, who took part in the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi earlier this week.On October 31st, the Pope and leaders of the Lutheran World Federation will preside together at a prayer service in Lund cathedral, asking forgiveness for past conflicts and giving thanks for the last 50 years of ecumenical dialogue.They will then lead a celebration with young people in Malmö arena, focusing on a commitment to common witness and highlighting cooperation on justice, peace and environmental protection between Caritas Internationalis and the World Service network of the Lutheran World Federation.Rev. Martin Junge believes these events offer Ca...
(Vatican Radio) If dialogue is the path to peace, and if authentic dialogue consists in careful listening and frank speaking, then the Cardinal-Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, John Onaiyekan, is to be counted as one who “gets it”. In a brief, but intense moment of conversation with Vatican Radio following a panel discussion on terrorism, which took place Monday afternoon in Assisi as part of events in preparation for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, Cardinal Onaiyekan made remarks that left no doubt regarding his own commitment to dialogue.Listen to Chris Altieri's interview with Cardinal Onaiyekan: Speaking of the terrorist insurgency of the Boko Haram group, which has killed scores of thousands of people since its founding in 2002 with the express purpose of overthrowing Nigeria's legitimate government and establishing Islamic law throughout the country, Cardinal Onaiyekan said, “These are religious extremists.” The significance of the assertion c...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has landed in Assisi, the hilltop town in central Italy where Saint Francis was born.His one day visit to Assisi sees him taking part  in the closing of the interreligious World Day of Prayer for Peace, organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio. The theme of the 3-day international meeting this year is “Thirst for Peace. Religions and Cultures in Dialogue”.This year marks the 30th anniversary of the First World Day of Prayer for Peace that St. John Paul convened back in 1986, an historic event which saw world leaders of different religions come together for the very first time to pray for peace. The Pope has travelled to Assisi by helicopter and after his landing near the  Basilica of St Mary of the Angels where Bishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi and the local authorities greeted him, the Pope travels by car to the Holy Convent of Assisi. Here he is welcomed by Father Mauro Gambetti, Custodian of the Holy Convent, the...
(Vatican Radio) Among the world’s religious leaders gathered in Assisi on Tuesday for the World Day of Prayer for Peace is the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Justin Welby.The Anglican leader was moderating one of the many panel discussions organised by the St Edigio community as part of a three day international meeting focused on the theme ‘Thirst for peace – religions and cultures in dialogue’. Since the first Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, called for by Pope John Paul II exactly 30 years ago, St Egidio has  organised an annual interfaith encounter to highlight the vital role of dialogue among all people of faith in promoting peace in the world.Listen:  Archbishop Welby was joined by the founder of the St Egidio community, Andrea Riccardi, by the former head of the Vatican’s Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, by Jewish interfaith expert, Rabbi David Rosen and by Italy’s de...
(Vatican Radio) The city of Assisi has seen a good bit of history: from foreign invasions to civil wars to natural disasters, the small hilltop city in Umbria seems to have been in the way of everything; and its most famous native son, Francis, is credited with almost single-handedly repairing a broken – and by some accounts, dying – Church in the early 13th century, and with sparking a renascence of faith and zeal for the Gospel that, eight centuries later, continues to inform and direct the energies of the whole Church and the Catholic faithful throughout the world.Pope Francis is coming to this place, to pray and to lead the leaders of the world’s religions in supplication to the Lord of creation for the gift of peace.Thirst for Peace: religions and cultures in dialogue is the theme of this 30th anniversary edition of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, in preparation for which the Community of Sant’Egidio has organized three days of conferences taking th...
(Vatican Radio) Among those participating in the Assisi Meeting of world religious leaders for the World Day of Prayer for Peace was Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch.In his remarks, the Patriarch said peace “needs a few cornerstones to uphold it even when it is endangered.”“There can be no peace without mutual respect and acknowledgment,” – Patriarch Bartholomew said – “There can be no peace without justice, there can be no peace without fruitful cooperation among all the peoples in the world.”He also said peace comes from “mutual knowledge and cooperation”, and spoke of the role the leaders gathered in Assisi need to have in this process.“As Faiths, as Humanist Cultures, as Human Beings, today we must revive all this, in a new way, through new gestures,” said Patriarch Bartholomew.“We need to be able to ask ourselves where we may have been wrong, or where we have ...
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has warned humanity against “the deafening silence of indifference and selfishness” before the cry of those who live under the threat of bombs and plead for peace.Pope Francis’ meditation was delivered during an ecumenical prayer ceremony with representatives of other Christian denominations in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis during the closing of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi.The Pope spoke of the ‘thirst’ of Jesus in which we can “hear the voice of the suffering, the hidden cry of the little innocent ones to whom the light of this world is denied, the sorrowful plea of the poor and those most in need of peace.  The victims of war, which sullies people with hate and the earth with arms, plead for peace; our brothers and sisters, who live under the threat of bombs and are forced to leave their homes into the unknown, stripped of everything, plead for peace”.And before concluding with a pray...
On Tuesday afternoon the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivered a meditation during an ecumenical prayer ceremony with representatives of other Christian denominations in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis on the final day of the World Day of Prayer for Peace gathering in Assisi. The Archbishop told those present including Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew that, " God offers wealth that is real and will bring satisfaction. He calls for us to listen, to eat, to come, to trust".Drawing inspiration from the Book of Isaiah he said, "...when we receive mercy and peace we become the bearers of mercy (and) peace." Concluding his meditation Archbishop Welby underlined that, "we are called to be Christ's voice to the hopeless, calling, "come, to the waters" in a world of drought and despair, giving away with lavish generosity what we have received in grace-filled mercy."Below is the full text of Arc...
(Vatican Radio) Indian writer and activist Sudheendra Kulkarni is one of the estimated 450 religious representatives of various faiths participating in the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi where he participated in the panel discussion entitled “Terrorism Denies God”. Kulkarni, who is of  Hindu faith, heads  the Observer Research Foundation,  an independent think tank, based in India. He is particularly concerned with interfaith dialogue, specifically India/Pakistan dialogue for peace and cooperation. He told Vatican Radio’s Christopher Altieri that the message of the World Day of Prayer for Peace is more relevant today than ever:Listen:  Sudheendra Kulkarni discusses the significance of his participation in the World Day of Prayer for Peace event in Assisi: “The message of Assisi is universal. It is not only for Assisi, it is not only for Italy, nor is it only for the Christian world. The greatest saint of mankind, one o...
Assisi, Italy, Sep 20, 2016 / 10:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In efforts for peace, indifference is the greatest sickness of our time, Pope Francis said at an interreligious summit in Assisi on Tuesday.“It is a virus that paralyzes, rendering us lethargic and insensitive, a disease that eats away at the very heart of religious fervor, giving rise to a new and deeply sad paganism: the paganism of indifference.”“We cannot remain indifferent,” he said. “Today the world has a profound thirst for peace.”The Pope spoke Sept. 20 during an international interreligious gathering marking the 30th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace convoked by St. John Paul II in 1986.The event, held in different locations, has been organized every year by the Sant'Egidio community. The last day of prayer led by a Pope, however, was held by Benedict XVI in 2011, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first historic meeting in Assisi.At this year's gather...
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