Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "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". With these words, during an interview with Agenzia Fides, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, at the head of the community of Lahore, announces 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.
Mgr. Shaw explains to Fides: "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 – he continues, illustrating the motivations of choice - 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 observes: "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".
Mgr. Shaw notes: "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", notes the Archbishop.
Another level will be that concerning civil institutions: "It is urgent to promote dialogue between the political and religious leadership in order to improve the life of the population, to strengthen peace in society and in the city", he argues.
Fr. Francis Gulzar, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lahore, speaking to Fides, adds: "At a time when we see people losing peace and harmony, dialogue is useful and urgent to improve human relations. We Christians are called to be an active part in dialogue, to promote peace and harmony in Pakistan. We must consider this commitment as an integral part of our mission, to live in unity and peace in our life and in the life of the entire nation". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 4/1/2018)