Catholics, Jews and Muslims sign peace statement in Colombia

Flag of Colombia. Credit: J. Stephen Conn via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Catholic, Jewish and Muslim representatives in Colombia have signed a historic joint statement for peace in a July 1 ceremony at the residence of the Archbishop of Bogota.

Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, Rabbi Alfredo Goldschmidt, and Sheik Ahmad Tayel led the ceremony which included prayer, song and the presentation of commemorative plaques. The three representatives concluded the event with the signing of an inter-religious declaration for peace.

Lamenting the “rivalries” that have existed between different faith groups throughout history, Cardinal Salazar noted that Pope Francis “wanted to make a gesture of reconciliation from Rome between two enemies who today seem to be irreconcilable: Israel and Palestine.”

“In imitation of this gesture, the community has come together for a time of prayer to pray for peace in the whole world, but especially for peace in Colombia,” he said.

For his part, Rabbi Alfredo Goldschmidt said the prayer for peace is an opportunity to close the door to the hatred and violence that has fueled Colombia’s decades-long conflict.

“It pains us that a group of people disrupt the entire country from living in peace as a society. What happens in Colombia is happening in the Middle East and in many countries of the world,” he said.

Colombia’s vice president Argelino Garzon also attended the ceremony and said it was a sign that should motivate all Colombians to work for greater unity.

The adjunct secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Father Pedro Mercado Cepeda, said representatives of the three religious communities worked for several months on the statement that calls for a greater commitment to foster peace and reconciliation.

“We are on a path of diversity, each one with his different beliefs, which we recognize and respect, but with common goals such as that of peace,” Fr. Mercado said.

 


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

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February 14, 2016

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    Mother Cabrini Library and Chapel Open House, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 3801 Scott Road, Burbank. The event is hosted by the Los Angeles Region.

     

    Italian Catholic Club of SCV Valentine's Day Dinner Dance, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Parish Hall), 23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Come enjoy a delicious gourmet buffet dinner and dance the night away to the music of Linda Pippin. Wear your favorite red dress, shirt and/or tie. All adults (single or married) are welcome. Tickets are $35 each (prepaid), or $45 at the door. Please call Anna Riggs at (661) 645-7877 to reserve your spot by Feb. 10.

     

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