MANILA, Jan. 4, 2015 – Inspired by Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for January, Catholic Filipinos hope to foster goodwill among various faith traditions and create unity among Christians.
“It is sad that hate and war are made in the name of God. People of religion preach peace but wage war on other faith. The Pope’s intention for the month invites us to listen to others,” said Darwin Beceril.
In line with this, the catechist from the Diocese of Novaliches noted that dialogue is vital in understanding differences, given that it helps build bridges among people of different religious persuasions.
Praying with Pope Francis
“This month, we pray with the Holy Father that we may learn how to dialogue and work for peace,” he said.
Pope Francis’ first universal prayer intention for the new year reads: “That sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice.”
Moreover, his intention for evangelization is: “That by means of dialogue and fraternal charity and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Christians may overcome divisions.”
For JM Tuazon, an accountant from the Diocese of Malolos, it goes without saying that Christians have a duty to promote and preserve peace, starting with their own persons.
God of peace
“God is the God of peace and we are His children, therefore, we must promote peace through what we do and what we say. Pope Francis really loves to have a dialogue [with] all people. To have a common understanding that will unite everyone. He [tells us about] a ‘sincere’ dialogue…so that we should not end in just a discussion but rather we backed it up with our acts. Seeking peace is promoting justice,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Nestor Limqueco pointed out dialogue is key to a healthy relationship with non-Christians and other Christian denominations, and that Catholics are to back the ecumenical movement, which comprehends all the initiatives and activities undertaken to promote Christian unity.
“This dialogue involves building a common base of understanding and trying to alleviate historic prejudices. Dialogue with the non-Catholics and Christians has the common mission and witness with local initiatives in parishes for social services, evangelization, peace and justice for human development,” added the religious educator from the Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM). (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)