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‘Prayer and Dialogue Are Inseparable’

Sant’Egidio International Conference Concludes Highlighting 5 Roles of Religion

“Religion can contribute to uproot the causes for conflict, build bridges of dialogue, seek justice and be a prophetic voice for the victims and a healing voice to the wrongdoer as well as the victim.”

Father Indunil Kodithuwakku, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said this during the concluding presentation he delivered at the Sant’Egidio International Meeting for Peace, adding that, “The ministry of Christian reconciliation is to break down the dividing walls built within the human hearts,” reported Vatican Radio. 

To explore the theme, ‘Peace is always possible: Religions and Culture in Dialogue,’ leaders of different Christian Churches and communities along with other religious leaders and representative gathered for the three-day meeting which began Sunday and ended yesterday in Albania’s capital of Tirana. 

In 1986, Pope John Paul II called for the first day of prayer for peace in Assisi. Since then, the Catholic lay community of Sant’ Egidio has organized an interreligious event in a different city each year. Yesterday, it was announced that next year’s will be held again in Assisi.

Highlighting dialogue and prayer are ‘inseparable,’ the Vatican official explained, “Prayer brings us to the intimate union with God, awakens our conscience, expels the inner darkness, heals internal and external wounds, disarms the violent, tears down walls of enmity, facilitates forgiving and pardoning, brings about reconciliation, opens hearts to the cry of suffering, urges us to eradicate social sins, enabling us to see everyone as our brother and sister and finally transforms us to be men and women of dialogue.

“Thus, there is no dialogue without prayer,” he said.

The Church, he also highlighted, becomes missionary by attending to every context in which it finds itself. Since She lives in a multi-religious and multicultural society, he noted that for Her mission to be effective, She “ought to be intra-Christian and inter-religious especially against the destructive and dehumanizing forces.”

Before concluding, Father Kodithuwakku stressed that prayer and dialogue are greatly needed “to achieve the urgent need of unity in the human family.” 

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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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