SPECIAL GATHERING OF SILSILAH ALUMNI GUIDED BY THE SPIRIT OF COURAGE AND HOPE
Harmony Village welcomed the Silsilah Alumni on May 17-20 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Silsilah Summer Course. For us this is a great achievement considering that every year, from 1987 up to 2016 we have formed thousands of alumni. They are Muslims and Christians from Mindanao, other parts of the Philippines and other countries. We have counted thru the years alumni coming from almost twenty different countries.
For this singular occasion we invited Fr. Markus Solo, an Indonesian SVD priest who came from Italy as delegate of the Pontifical Council of Inter Religious Dialogue. This is an office of the Vatican which promotes inter religious dialogue around the world.
The theme of the event: “Celebrating the Silsilah Alumni Spirit with Courage and Hope” was introduced by different participants in forms of stories, recalling the impact of the Silsilah Spirit in the alumni thru the years.
Some of the most touching moments have been the launching of an exhibit of the 30th Anniversary featuring the four martyred alumni of Silsilah. They are Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, PIME, killed in Zamboanga City on May 20, 1992, Bishop Benjamin de Jesus, OMI, D.D. killed in front of the Cathedral of Jolo on February 4, 1997, Fr. Rhoel D. Gallardo, CMF who was killed in Basilan in 2000 and Fr. Reynaldo Jesus Roda, OMI who was killed in Likud Tabawan (Tawi- Tawi) on January 15, 2008
For the occasion, we re-launched old and new original songs composed thru the years by alumni and friends. The songs have been inspired by the spirit of Silsilah. At the same time we have collected and we are still collecting stories and messages that will be properly presented in a commemorative book.
Other touching moments were the sharing of the harmony shawl, the promotion of the Harmony Chain Initiative and the prayer of mercy done together, Muslims and Christians, in the spirit of prayer lighting the candle of “COURAGE AND HOPE” to highlight the theme of the celebration.
The last day, May 20, was the anniversary of the death of Fr. Salvatore killed along the road in Zamboanga on May 20 1992. Many of the participants came with flowers remembering the sacrifice of Fr. Salvatore in his mission of Dialogue and Peace in Silsilah.
During the closing program of the same day the group signed a MANIFESTO prepared by the alumni which was read and all the participants were invited to renew their commitment guided by the spirit of the celebration and of the Manifesto that says:
In thanksgiving for the 30th Anniversary of the Silsilah Summer Course, we, the Silsilah Alumni celebrate the gift of persons and our stories of courage and hope as we face the realities of the contemporary world. The difficulties and sometimes confusion, because of deep historical and present wounds and the on-going experiences of violence have taken away many precious lives of our brothers and sisters.
In spite of these challenges, we continue to journey as pilgrims of dialogue and peace inspired by the examples of our present Silsilah alumni “martyrs”, whose blood have become the source of strength and vitality to “Padayon” (move on). We are convinced that this commitment is touched by the inner inspiration of the Almighty, the Source of Dialogue.
As Alumni of Silsilah, we commit ourselves to nurture, live out and promote the spirituality of life in dialogue with courage and hope in deepening our relationships with God, Self, Others and Creation.
In God’s grace and mercy we can continue to actively participate in creating a Culture of Dialogue, Peace and Harmony in the atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.
Fr. Sebastiano D’ Ambra, PIME
Founder – Silsilah Dialogue Movement