“People today use modern means of technology, but paradoxically have less time to communicate with each other. It is essential to motivate and accompany people to dialogue; dialogue is a tool that promotes life and peace,” said Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw in announcing that 2019 will be the Year of Dialogue in his diocese. The Archbishop solemnly proclaimed it in a meeting with the diocesan clergy and religious, during a Mass celebrated in the “Renewal Center” of Lahore, a structure at the service of pastoral care, reported Fides News Agency on January 4, 2019.
Archbishop Shaw explained: “Dialogue between individuals, spouses, families, communities, and people of different religions will bring new hope, help remove misunderstandings and deepen and strengthen relationships. When we read the Holy Bible we get to know the dialogue between God and man. Dialogue begins, in the book of Genesis, when man walks away from God, because of sin, and he hides, but God calls Adam and begins a dialogue with him. Through dialogue, God wants to rebuild the relationship with humanity.”
The biblical verse “God said: Adam where are you?” (Genesis 3: 9) constitutes the main theme and biblical reference for understanding the wide-ranging mission that the Catholic community will live throughout the Year of Dialogue, the Archbishop explained.
“Through dialogue, God called Abraham, at the age of 75, to leave the cult of idols, his possessions, his family, the community and city, God dialogues with Moses and gives Moses the strength to establish a dialogue with the Pharaoh, to give the Israelites freedom from slavery. In the Gospels, a passage of fundamental dialogue is that between the Angel Gabriel and Mary: through dialogue Mary discovers God’s plan, understands it and she says: I am the servant of the Lord, let the will of God be done”.
Archbishop Shaw noted: “God initiates a dialogue with humanity and we, his creatures, must promote dialogue at all levels and in all contexts: dialogue between husband and wife, dialogue between parents and children to strengthen ties of love within family, dialogue between priests and parish groups and pastoral councils, dialogue with people of other faiths and religions. During the Year of Dialogue, the focus will also be on interreligious dialogue, in particular on Islamic-Christian dialogue. We will form priests, lay people, young people and teachers to appreciate and promote dialogue, to understand the urgency of dialogue to build peace and harmony among the faiths.”