Papal Message to Cyprus Meeting

Peace «Is at the Same Time a Gift and a Task»

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2008 ( Here is the text of a message sent by Benedict XVI through his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the 22nd International Meeting of Prayer for Peace. The Oct. 31 message was made available Sunday, the first day of the meeting.

These annual international meetings are sponsored by the Sant’Egidio Community and are a follow-up to the World Day of Prayer for Peace convened in Assisi by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 27, 1986. This year’s event is cosponsored by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and ends Tuesday.

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To Prof. Andrea Riccardi
Community of Sant’Egidio

Dear Professor,

I have the honour to convey to You the cordial greetings of His Holiness for the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace. Greetings which You will undoubtedly extend with affection to all those taking part in the works on the theme of The Civilization of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue.

The current meeting, promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio and by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, gathering together personalities from Europe, Africa and Central America for three days in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, takes place twenty-two years after the historical World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, convened by the Servant of God John Paul II. On that memorable occasion our beloved Pope urged those present and the world at large to live that precious time close to Saint Francis as a moment of mutual listening, an opportunity to «clear away the fog of suspicion and misunderstanding» and ask God our Father for the precious gift of peace.

Also your meeting is certainly a powerful experience of communion; it will open up a wider vision of reality and give rise to dialogue between brothers; it represents, furthermore, a moment of true, real and mutual understanding of each other’s differences, as well as of the peculiarities and elements that we share. Only through dialogue and sincere efforts it is possible to be integrated in this «multiform and multifaceted linguistic cosmos» within the precious chest of Creation, which is entrusted to the common responsibility and good of every human being.

We are profoundly convinced that peace, as the Holy Father Benedict XVI reminds us, «is at the same time a gift and a task».

While hoping that the International Meeting of prayer for Peace may offer its participants the chance of future dialogue and common growth, the Holy Father ensures He shall remember it in His prayers. He encourages to keep up the flame of peace, nourished by daily gestures of brotherly love and friendship, and He wholeheartedly conveys to everyone a special Apostolic Blessing.

I am glad to add my heartfelt wishes for the success of the International Meeting and I take this opportunity to convey to You and to the participants by best regards.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

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