A CREATIVE INTERFAITH COUNCIL IN QUIAPO – MANILA | December 15, 2015

A joint effort between the parish of  Quiapo, in Manila and the Silsilah Dialogue Dialogue Movement was the beginning of the Ministry of Inter- religious Dialogue-Quiapo in 20111 when the  parish priest of  Quiapo, Monsignor  Clemente Ignacio,  asked the collaboration of Silsilah to  be present in the multi cultural and multi religious   presence of Quiapo.  Many in the Philippines know that Quiapo is in the center of Manila and there are the two most famous religious buildings of the Muslims and Christians in Manila:  the Quaipo Church, well known for the devotion to the Nazarene, and the Golden Mosque, the most famous mosque in Metro Manila.  A joint effort between the parish of  Quiapo, in Manila and the Silsilah Dialogue Dialogue Movement was the beginning of the Ministry of Inter- religious Dialogue-Quiapo in 20111 when the  parish priest of  Quiapo, Monsignor  Clemente Ignacio,  asked the collaboration of Silsilah to  be present in the multi cultural and multi religious   presence of Quiapo.  Many in the Philippines know that Quiapo is in the center of Manila and there are the two most famous religious buildings of the Muslims and Christians in Manila:  the Quaipo Church, well known for the devotion to the Nazarene, and the Golden Mosque, the most famous mosque in Metro Manila.  The big presence of Muslims in Quiapo is a new reality that needs to be properly addressed in the biggest community of Manila.  Quiapo is also a meeting place of many business activities in Metro Manila and a proper dialogue between Muslims and Christians is needed to help create a better relations among people in the area.  Silsilah has started different approaches in Manila, first in the University of the Philippines (UP) and now in Quiapo giving a  especial attention to  the many  schools  and universities in the Quiapo area.  The most  recent and  challenging activity  is  the Inter Faith Council of  Leaders  formed by  many leaders, including the parish priest of  the  church of  Quiapo, the administrator  and the imam of the Golden Mosque, as well as the director of the  Quiapo madrasa  and some key leaders who represent  different schools in the Quiapo area and other  universities of  Manila. On December 8-9, 2015 the Ministry for Inter-religious Dialogue-Quiapo Church also known as the Silsilah Forum Manila conducted its Year End Gathering and Evaluation with the theme “Strengthening through Gathering: The Sharing of Mercy and Hope in Living the Spirituality of Life in Dialogue” at the Mariapolis Peace, Tagaytay City.  The gathering was facilitated by the founder of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME with the special participation of Fr. Douglas Badong, one of the parochial vicars of Quiapo Church. This was attended by the Interfaith Council of Leaders-Quiapo, Silsilah members and friends who are enjoined to consolidate the mission for dialogue and peace that starts from Quiapo to the whole of Metro Manila. The main purpose of this gathering was to evaluate the existing programs of each Silsilah group in order to come up to a corresponding plan base on the needs of each group to develop, and at the same time, to organize a common program where the groups can collaborate and to consolidate more effectively the mission for dialogue, peace and harmony in the region that starts from the areas where each group belongs. For this reason, after having enough time to reflect during the gathering all the sharing about the challenges, difficulties and evaluation of programs in consolidating all the initiatives for dialogue and peace Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME has came up to challenge each one from different groups and areas to form the Harmony Link Circle.  It is a new creative way to  invite all the members of IFCL Manila to  bring the spirit and action of dialogue to the places where they  have their regular activities  involving other friends:  from the churches, the mosques, the schools, the  offices, etc. Each member of IFCL was invited to create a “circle of friends” where they are, start to promote the Harmony Chain Initiative with the Harmony Prayer and to be part of this new “Circle of Harmony Link”. The  proposal  was accepted with enthusiasm and  there is a hope that the Manila experience  will become a new creative experience that can be  brought to other  initiatives of Silsilah and  other groups who are always  searching for creative ways to  make their members more active in their  places.
The Harmony Prayer is   already an initiative spread in the world and now becomes, in this new initiative of the “Harmony Link Circle”, an   inspiration to form circles of friends to promote dialogue and peace.  In fact this prayer offers insights to find in it the rationale and objectives of the Harmony Link Circle.  The prayer ends saying: “Give me, O Lord, the courage to live-in-dialogue in the midst of divisions and conflicts  and to build peace with all people of sincere hearts who  believe in your love and  compassion”.

 

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