Zamboanga (Agenzia Fides) - "The new liturgical year, which began with the season of Advent which will culminate with the celebration of Christmas, is an invitation to Christians to enter a phase of new conversion of the heart that Pope Francis presents in the "Misericordiae Vultus", recalling that God's mercy is a Christian's identity card". This is confirmed in the message issued on the occasion of Advent and in view of Christmas by the Islamic-Christian movement "Silsilah" (which means "chain"), born in Zambanga, on the island of Mindanao, in the southern Philippines on the initiative of Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, missionary of PIME.
The message, sent to Fides, recalls the upcoming 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines (1521-2021) and notes. "Today we remember these 500 years with joy and pain. With joy because the message of God's love through Christianity has gradually been experienced by people with the result that today many have embraced Christianity. With pain because the spread of Christianity through the centuries has not always taken place in an evangelical spirit of love for all. This, then, is also a time to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by men of the Church in the Philippines in the past 500 years". "Today we are called to live the true message of Jesus with humility, remembering that Advent and Christmas are special times for the conversion of God's love and mercy", the text continues.
The reality of Covid-19 with all its implications and problems, he continues "teaches all of us, people of different cultures and religions, that we belong to one human family and that we have a Father Creator in common".
"We, Christian members of the Silsilah movement, wish to reaffirm our commitment to dialogue and peace and continue to be a link between all. In a special way, we recognize the sins of Christians, especially against indigenous people and Muslims who, on some occasions, have forgotten mercy".
The legacy that the Islamic-Christian movement "Silsilah" has offered since 1984 remains that of "promoting the spirituality of life in dialogue with God, with oneself, with one's neighbor and with creation, in the hope that together we can create a new culture of dialogue within society, which encourages everyone to work together for harmony, solidarity and peace. This call becomes more urgent now with the urgency represented by the pandemic", reads the text.
In conclusion, the movement wishes that "the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, from the time of Advent brings a new horizon of love and solidarity with all people of different cultures and religions". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 17/12/2020)