The “Silsilah” movement for dialogue has launched a new educational institute in the city of Zamboanga, Philippines: the Emmaus College for Theology, which offers a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, with specialization in interreligious dialogue. This is what Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME missionary, and founder of Silsilah reported to Fides News Agency, expressing “the joy, satisfaction and the hope that this spirit can infect more and more young Christians and Muslims in the Philippines”.
The new College obtained permission to operate from the “Commission for Higher Education” in the Philippines and will start lessons in August 2020, just as the new academic year 2019-2020 will coincide with the special “Year of interreligious dialogue, of ecumenism and of indigenous peoples”, proclaimed by the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which will begin with the Feast of Christ the King, on November 24, 2019.
In fact, the Catholic Church in the Philippines will pay particular attention to interreligious dialogue, ecumenism and indigenous peoples in preparation for 2021, when Christians in the Philippines will recall the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the archipelago.
Over the years, the Silsilah Movement has, in particular, helped a group of Catholic teachers to launch first the “Emmaus Community” composed of consecrated laymen and then extended to married people, singles, priests, nuns, seminarians, who formed the Movement for the “Emmaus” Dialogue, active in Mindanao.
“In the context of this initiative,” said – explained D’Ambra, “Emmaus College of Theology responds to the need to train a new generation of Catholics willing to embrace any form of vocation in the Church: consecrated laity, religious, priests, married and single, but all with the desire to discover their vocation in life to serve the Church and society.
“The College will be a place to train young people, men, and women, to be open to interreligious dialogue by living and promoting the culture of dialogue. The life of prayer and service to the poor will nourish their formation with adequate programs of immersion and services in parishes and other institutions.
“The Silsialh Movement has made great steps in training people of different religions and uniting them on a journey to live and promote the spirituality of life in dialogue, as a way to peace. Our dream is becoming reality and also the blood of some martyrs, members and alumni of Silsilah, is part of this growth. Many people who have participated in the movement’s formation programs now live the spirit of Silsilah in the Philippines and other countries.”