May. 10, 2023 03:58 PM
Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, founder of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement during the Silsilah Coordinators Annual Gathering and the 2nd National Convention of the World Interfaith Harmony Week Partners at the Harmony Village, Zamboanga City (Photo by Mr. Alfrein O. Quirionez, EIAM)
In partnership with Silsilah Dialogue Movement, the Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs Ministry (EIAM) of Quiapo Church attended the Silsilah Coordinators Annual Gathering and the 2nd National Convention of the World Interfaith Harmony Week Partners on April 26-30, 2023, at the Harmony Village, Pitogo, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City.
Led by Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, founder of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, the Silsilah Forum Coordinators Gathering represented by the Silsilah coordinators, coming mostly from Mindanao, was indeed insightful. Everyone shared personal stories of challenges, triumphs, and hopes in living out the dreams of dialogue in each respective mission station. Mr. Alfrein Quirionez represented Manila as the Christian coordinator along with Haji Ali Alawi, the Muslim Coordinator in the community of Quiapo. Mr. Quirionez shared that the efforts on dialogue in Quiapo were a different and difficult challenge during the pandemic as the interreligious dialogue office was among the offices that were temporarily shut down for about two years.
Nevertheless, with the new administration spearheaded by Fr. Rufino “Jun” Sescon, Jr., Rector and Parish Priest, the said ministry is rebranded from the Interreligious Dialogue Ministry into the Ecumenism & Interreligious Affairs Ministry, which is to give equal importance to dialogue not only with Muslims but also with non-Catholic Christians. In a recent pastoral and solidarity message of Fr. Jun during the celebration of the Eidl Fitr, he mentioned that the interfaith efforts in the community would be more intensified along the way in collaboration with other Christian denominations, religions, and other stakeholders present in the community.
Silsilah Coordinator participants posing for a group photo (Photo by Mr. Alfrein O. Quirionez, EIAM)
April 28-29, 2023, the second day of the gathering, a bigger group of partners from various faith-based organizations, religious and academic institutions from Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Kidapawan, Lanao, Jolo Sulu, Pagadian, Ipil, Basilan and Zamboanga City came together for the 2nd National Convention of the World Interfaith Partners Week. The most important positive result of the event is that the Interfaith Harmony Partners have unanimously enjoined to come up with another weeklong activity aside from the “World Interfaith Harmony Week” every first week of February, is to celebrate also the “Dialogue with Creation Partners Week” every first week of October. This new initiative aims to: 1) raise awareness about the emergency condition of mother earth. 2) organize activities as expressions of solidarity and dialogue with creation. 3) foster friendship and advance common action between and among the interfaith communities for the care of our common home.
Dialogue with creation is indeed part of the signs of the time that the Church needs to respond urgently. The Church cannot just talk about faith and social justice without paying attention to the integrity of creation amidst the adverse effect of global warming and climate change, directly affecting the day-to-day condition of the poor, homeless, and marginalized sectors in society. And this is very timely in the journey of the Church toward synodality: A journey of dialogue with God, self, others, and creation where everyone is called not only to participate in the healing and restoration of “Our Common Home” as Pope Francis puts it, but more so, to purify the ecology of the hearts and minds of every believer who are co-sharers of the wonders of the habitat of all creations.
– Alfrein O. Quirionez | EIAM & ADRM