Dialogue for Peace
Fr. Peter Daly
June 10, 2003
In every age there is no more urgent need and no more elusive goal.
Peace is the greeting of the three great monotheist religions. We each say “Peace be with you.” “Pax te cum.” “Shalom Aleichem” “Salam aleckem.”
Nevertheless Christians, Moslems and Jews have often not lived in peace with each other. Oceans of blood have been shed in the name of God. Often religious people give God a bad name.
This past April, in an attempt to
overcome the recent and distant past, more than 250 “children of Abraham”
assembled in a
Despite the presence of a lot of “official” representatives of religion, it was basically a lay group. It was just ordinary folks with an extraordinary concern.
The lecture was sponsored by lay
people. The Lay Centre of Foyer Unitas a Catholic residence for lay students of
This year the Lay Centre is living
the dialogue as well. Their
The title of the evening was “Christians and Moslems Together, Creating a Culture of Peace.” There were two presenters were soft-spoken men of good humor.
The first speaker was Archbishop
Michael Fitzgerald, M. Afr., an Englishman who heads the
Archbishop Fitzgerald described the
extensive and on going dialogue between the
Professor Sachedina welcomed these high level talks but noted that talking had to go beyond elites. He suggested that ordinary believers should get together to talk about their faith and become friends.
from our parish took this suggestion to heart. She decided to do something
right where we live in rural
A few days after the lecture in
of the Mosque were very willing. Their community has often felt threatened and
isolated in recent months. During the
For now the dialogue is small. There are about half dozen women from each or our communities getting together once a month. They share a meal. They tour our houses of worship. They learn about each other’s faith.
It is not much, but it is a start. If peace is to come between nations and religions, it has to be built on a foundation of trust. Maybe it has to start in an out of the way place were there is already some peace.
The Catholic and Moslem women of our communities are discovering that we share a common desire, expressed in the prayer of a Jewish priest, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, who is mentioned in both the Koran and the New Testament. He prayed, “In the tender compassion of our God, may the dawn from on high break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”