Reasons for Jubilation | May 11, 2011

“Over  the many years I have spent with the peace movers of Silsilah I have witnessed the difference…

where before we viewed each other with the eyes of suspicion and hatred, we now express our views in terms of what we can do together to erase centuries-old social irritants between groups”. These were the words of Mrs. Zenaida T. Lim, Vice President of the Silsilah Foundation Inc.  when she gave her message to a gathering  at the Silsilah auditorium in Harmony Village on May 9, 2011. Mrs. Lim is a Tausug born and raised in Jolo and now a resident of Zamboanga City.
The gathering of some 300 members, friends and alumni of the Silsilah Summer Course marked a number of auspicious events in the life of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement and gave reason for jubilation and celebration.
One reason was that May 9, 2011 marks the 27th Anniversary of the founding of the Movement. Another was that this year 2011 is the 25th offering of the Silsilah Summer Course on Muslim-Christian Dialogue and to mark this milestone alumni of past summer courses came together for a homecoming.
Silsilah has put together a book, entitled “25 and Counting”, which is a directory of the nearly 2000 Muslim and Christian students who have participated in the 25 summer courses over the years and the resource persons who were their lecturers. The book also contains reflections of alumni on their experiences of dialogue and how their perspectives of inter-religious relations have been influenced by their having been a student of the summer course. The book was launched at the gathering on Monday May 9.

Another reason for jubilation and celebration is that May 9 is the birthday of Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, who founded the Silsilah Dialogue Movement and who continues to share his dreams for dialogue and peace.
The gathering at the auditorium experienced a program of musical numbers, testimonies and wistful recollections of  Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, PIME; Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, CMF;   and Fr. Reynaldo Jesus Roda, OMI. In spite of being advocates of dialogue, all three were sacrificed on the altar of peace through brutal killing.

Sr. Agatha Nguyen, LSJ, is a Vietnamese who is attending the 2011 summer course. She expressed her heartfelt thanks for the wonderful experience of spending a week-end with a Muslim family as part of the immersion experience provided to the summer course participants. Fr. Hermes Larry Sabud, SM sang his own original composition ”Life-in-dialogue, It’s Possible!, It’s Happening!” which inspires listeners to a life of  dialogue.  One number in the program which stood out for its creativity was the presentation by the current summer course participants of the creation as described in the Book of Genesis.
Through the special celebration on May 9, Silsilah wishes to give a clear message to all that peace is possible in the world and in Mindanao, if those with brave and loving hearts will live and promote the Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace.

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