ASIA/PHILIPPINES - The Islamic-Christian "Silsilah" movement celebrates its 40th anniversary: a path at the service of peace and fraternity

Monday, 29 April 2024 dialogue   islam   fraternity  

Zamboanga (Agenzia Fides) - 40 years have passed since the beginning of a journey that was not always easy, but also marked by moments of joy: the movement for Islamic-Christian dialogue "Silsilah" (which means "chain"), launched in the south of the Philippines in 1984, is 40 years old and can today say that it has contributed to spreading the spirit of reconciliation in the Philippines and in the world.
"In 40 years, Silsilah has met thousands of Muslim and Christian friends, especially in Mindanao, but also in other parts of the Philippines and in other parts of the world. It is an experience that has borne fruit and has been appreciated over time for its universal value," explains to Fides the Italian missionary Father Sebastiano D'Ambra of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), co-founder of the institution that from the beginning wanted to promote the common life of Christians and Muslims.

This sharing took place above all in the "Harmony Village", a place on the outskirts of Zamboanga City where Christians and Muslims live together, experience moments of prayer, spirituality and formation together and, above all, share a vision of life oriented towards dialogue and peace. "In 40 years, we remember joyful and painful events, but above all we cannot forget the martyrdom of Father Salvatore Carzedda (PIME), who was killed on May 20, 1992 in Zamboanga City. That was the time when Silsilah said with great determination: Padayon! (let's move forward"), despite the threats of some radical groups", recalls Father D'Ambra, referring to one of the most painful moments, the assassination of one of his confreres. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Movement, which was welcomed and considered by the Church in the Philippines as a "beacon" for Islamic-Christian relations, a memorial event will be held on May 18, 2024 at the "Harmony Village" in Zamboanga City, with the participation of members of the Movement, students, alumni, friends and all those who share the spirit of the Movement, as well as authoritative Christian and Muslim leaders and representatives of the authorities. On this occasion (and during two other meetings during the anniversary event on 11 and 25 May), the past and present of Silsilah will be discussed, the mission of dialogue and peace will be discussed, while "we will not fail to talk about the future: we will ask the participants to dream with us and renew our commitment to a world of good relations in the name of peace, reconciliation and fraternity", explains the Italian missionary. The spirituality promoted by Silsilah - which over the years has attracted Christian and Muslim believers and thousands of people who have participated in the study seminars offered - is the "spirituality of life in dialogue" that leads to love, as it is said. This spirituality accompanies man on a path of deep dialogue, lived in four dimensions: dialogue with God; dialogue with oneself; dialogue with one's neighbour; dialogue with creation. Hence the "Works of Mercy" that have emerged over the years in the Movement and also unite Christians and Muslims. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 29/4/2024)