ROME, JAN. 17, 2010 ( As Benedict XVI was visiting the Synagogue of Rome, the 21st day dedicated to deepening and developing Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Italy was held.

The annual Jan. 17 event began in 1990 sponsored by the Italian bishops' conference and Jewish leaders.

Beginning in 2005, a 10-year program of themes was taken up, focused on the Ten Commandments. 

Following the Jewish numbering, this year dialogue focused on "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day" (Exodus 20:8).

This year’s guide for the day of dialogue was prepared by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, president of the bishops' Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue, and by Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, president of the Rabbinical Tribunal of Milan and Northern Italy.

“The Sabbath,” the guide states, “is a time for divine repose and leisure. In this way it becomes an excellent occasion for sociability in a larger sense since it permits us to open our ear and open our heart to those voices of solidarity toward our neighbor, that the racket and toil of the week sometimes keep us from hearing.”

According to the guide, “the Sabbath means the presence of God, his loving and merciful relationship with man; it is therefore a time imbued with sanctity, in which the Covenant (Exodus 31:16) and the remembrance of the paschal redemption (Deuteronomy 5:15) are re-proposed.”

“Thus, this day,” the document adds, “is also filled with messianic expectation and hope for a future fullness, represented by the image of the Sabbath as queen and as bride.”