VATICAN CITY, NOV. 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a message from the participants in the interreligious youth meeting that commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi. This message was released through the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
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Interreligious Youth Meeting
Nov. 4-8, 2006
Message from Youth, to Youth
We came together in Assisi, called from nearly 30 nations and representing 13 religious traditions, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the historic Day of Prayer for World Peace in 1986. Invited by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and sent by our religious communities and organizations, we young people came here to carry forward the flame of peace ignited by our spiritual leaders 20 years ago in these same sacred spaces.
We encountered one another with honesty and sincerity to build up the bonds of fraternity that unite us all as brothers and sisters in our humanity, fashioned by and in God. From our commonly held desires for happiness, justice and truth, we entered into genuine dialogue.
We shared and learned about each other’s cultures and beliefs, not to minimize or ignore our differences, but to grow in mutual respect, esteem and understanding. Though we do not share the same religious convictions, we have all inherited the same earth and share a common responsibility to be faithful citizens of society and to be good stewards of creation.
We prayed according to our respective religious traditions, imploring from God the precious gift of peace. While our prayers were offered in different places, languages and ways, we were united in a single purpose: praying for peace. In this way, we testified to the truth that “prayer does not divide but unites and is a decisive element for an effective pedagogy of peace, hinged on friendship, reciprocal acceptance and dialogue between different cultures and religions” as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his message for the 20th anniversary of the first Assisi meeting.
We walked as pilgrims to the site of St. Francis of Assisi’s conversion 800 years ago, when God called out to Francis “Go, rebuild my house.” Likewise today, in the spirit of our respective religions, we young people hear the call to “Go, rebuild our world,” which is too often broken by violence and war.
We appeal to all people that peace is not something only to be sought in halls of government, but also in the halls of our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our temples, our pagodas, our gurudwaras, our atash berhrams, our schools, our workplaces, our homes and most importantly in our hearts.
We will strive to follow the path to peace, guided by the precepts of our respective religious traditions. In the “spirit of Assisi” and with a united voice, we echo the words of that great ambassador of peace, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, as we cry out:
Violence never again!
War never again!
Terrorism never again!
In the name of God,
may every religion bring upon the earth
Justice and Peace,
Forgiveness and Life,
We young people represent a new generation and a new hope. We resolve to return to our families and communities, to be advocates for interreligious and intercultural understanding and respect. We accept the responsibility of continuing the dialogue begun here in Assisi and we fully commit ourselves to working for justice and to be instruments of peace in our homelands and in every corner of the earth.