Zamboanga (Agenzia Fides) - "Since 1984 we have been promoting the culture of dialogue as a path to peace in Mindanao, in the southern Philippines and throughout the world. Today we resume our journey with an even more intense message", said Benson M. Rance, one of the leaders of the "Silsilah" Movement for Islamic-Christian dialogue, active in the southern Philippines, founded by the Catholic missionary Father Sebastiano D 'Ambra, of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the "Silsilah" Movement has resumed its "face-to-face" training courses and seminars, which are held at the Harmony Village, near the city of Zamboanga, on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.
The movement starts from a concrete experience of coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the same place (the Harmony Village) and expands its cultural and spiritual work to spread a lifestyle based on dialogue as a path to peace, in four dimensions: dialogue with God, dialogue with oneself, dialogue with one's neighbor, dialogue with creation. Silsilah celebrates its 36th anniversary in 2022 and, among its training experiences, continues to offer a one-month "basic course" and a one-week intensive course to people of different religions and nationalities who want to learn and practice the "Culture of dialogue", an experience which, it is said, is primarily of a spiritual nature.
This year's summer course, reports Benson M. Rance, focused on the theme "Christian Synodality and Islamic Ijma (Arabic: "consensus"): similarities, differences and challenges".
Those present and the entire Silsilah movement expressed a declaration of commitment stating: "Living in the world in the midst of divisions and conflicts, socio-economic and ecological crises, religious and cultural prejudices, especially in Mindanao, we commit ourselves to dialogue with God, allowing him to transform lives and be aware of his loving presence in everyone".
The note sent to Fides reads: "let us live our faith with sincerity and openness to become loving and compassionate towards our brothers and sisters; let us dialogue with others by taking the first step to be witnesses of God's love, sincerely accepting each one as a gift from God, appreciating the diversity of our cultures, religious beliefs and traditions; let us dialogue with Creation so that we can act together in the protection and care of our common home".
"In this way we can be bearers of peace and harmony by living the core of our spirituality, traveling together in one direction to bring people back to God", says Rance. The Movement, he concludes, "will continue to form Muslims and Christians in the spirit of human brotherhood and the culture of dialogue". (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 20/8/2022)