ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The "Emmaus community" in Mindanao: women consecrated to the service of dialogue with Muslims

Zamboanga City (Agenzia Fides) - Christians and Muslims in Mindanao, the largest island in the southern Philippines, call them "maidens of Providence", "poor sisters", "flames of dialogue": they are the women of the "Emmaus Community for Dialogue ," which in 2012 celebrates its 25th anniversary of the foundation. This is an experience of community life among consecrated lay women, who are dedicated to serving the poor, Christians and Muslims, the education of children, to building bridges of friendship and peace between Christian and Muslim communities that live in the South of the island of Mindanao. As reported to Fides Agency, on the occasion of 25th anniversary, the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, where the birthplace of the community was born, recognized it as a "lay association" of the Church. In the past several years the Archbishop of Zamboanga, that have followed, have strongly encouraged and supported the mission of the Emmaus Community, considering it "an important sign in the Church today." Today the local community, made up of Christian and Muslim families, express immense gratitude to the women of the Emmaus Community, immersed in a difficult social situation, marked by poverty, ignorance, lack of social services, religious extremism.
The charisma of the Emmaus Community is the specific commitment to work for dialogue and peace: this is why women work closely with the experience of the movement for Islamic-Christian dialogue "Silsilah", initiated by the PIME missionary in Zamboanga Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra. The experience is inspired by the biblical story of two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and the community took the gospel of the Beatitudes as "Rule of Life." In recent years, moreover, also the "Circle Emmaus" was born, a group of Catholic lay men and women, married and single, living in their respective families, but who agree to follow the spirit and mission of the Emmaus Community, made of love and compassion for others. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 26/5/2012)

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