Lahore (Jan. 12, 2019) It was a historical moment to see a Franciscan Archbishop and the Custos of Capuchin Friars to inaugurate the ceremony in commemoration of the meeting of St. Francis with the Sultan of Egypt, AL-Kamil in the year 1219. This ceremony was organized by the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ conference Pakistan) and the Capuchin Friars in Pakistan. His grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM (Chairman NCIDE) was the chief guest of this inaugural ceremony where as Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, (Executive secretary NCIDE) was the organizer of this event. A big number of Franciscan Brothers and sisters and eminent Muslim scholars from Sialkot, Lahore, Gujranwala and Islamabad were present to mark the occasion.
The purpose of the celebration was to renew the memories of the historic event of the meeting of these two great leaders who stood for peace and tolerance amidst the atmosphere of war and conflict during the crusades. They set an example of Interfaith Dialogue and mutual understanding.
In the beginning of the ceremony the portrait of the historical encounter of St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Al-Kamil was unveiled by the Christian and Muslim leaders, while balloons and pigeons were set free in the air with the hope that they will spread the message of peace in all the countries, especially in the areas where religious and political conflicts are separating people and causing harm to life.
The organizers of the programme, Qaiser Feroz OFM Cap and Fr. Faisal Francis OFM Cap welcomed all the guests whereas Fr. Shahzad Khokher OFM Cap presented the background and the impact of this historical meeting.
In his message, His grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM congratulated all the participants and encouraged them to be ambassadors of peace as the example shown by these great leaders. He admired the passion of St. Francis who went to Sultan amidst the wars just with a white flag in his hands and told him that wars can occupy and win only a piece of land and territory Not the hearts of people.
Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap while expressing his views admired this historical moment. This event has inspired all of us to live in peace, harmony, tolerance and solidarity. He further announced that this year will be celebrated all across Pakistan; Seminars for Children, youth, College, Madrisa and University students will be organized. Rev. Francis Nadeem expressed his commitment that during this year he would try hard to reach out to that 30 % of hard-line Muslim clerics who hate Christians; like St. Francis, without any fear he would like to go out, with the help of his Muslim friends who has always been at his side to promote peace and harmony in Pakistan, and meet them to convince them to believe in peace and make peace possible for all humanity.
Maulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, a renowned Muslim scholar and leader said that we shall promote the mission of St. Francis and Sultan. He promised that as St. Francis went to Sultan keeping aside all the fatal consequences, we would also approach all the weapons’ dealers and to those who spread hate and prejudice among the religions. He urged all the participants and leaders to work hard during the year 2019, to convince 800 more people to join this movement of interfaith dialogue, peace and social harmony as we celebrate 800 years of the historical encounter. The ceremony ended with the Peace prayer recited by Fr. Clarence Hayat OFM Cap.
The following speakers were present in this inaugural ceremony: Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM, Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, Moulana Muhammad ASIM Makhdoom, Allama Sajad Husaan Naqvi, Allama Muhamad Sulman Shaker,Mufti Ashiq Hussain, Dr. Badar Munir, Moulana Abdul Sattar Niazi, Qari Ahmad Shakeel Saddiqui, Allama Asghar Arif Chishti, Moulana Muhammad Asghar Arif Chishti, Sahibzada Mustafa Chishti, hafiz Muhammad Nouman, Sahbzada pervaiz akbar, Pir S.A. Jaffery, Pervaiz Akbar Saqi, Qari Khalid Mahmood, Qari Anam ul Raheem, Alhaj Pir Sayyed Wali Allah Shah, Sohail Ahmad Raza, Qari Muhammad Yaqoob Raheemi, Fr. John Jospeh, Fr. Henery Paul, Fr. Qaiser Feroz, Fr. Francis Sabir, Fr. Ashfaq Anthony, Fr. Fiaz Rafiq, Fr. Aqeel Ashiq, Fr Sunil Irfan , Fr. Adnan Kashif, Fr. Clarence Hayat, Fr. Masam Illays, Fr. Atif Alphonas, Fr. Shahzad Khokher, Fr. Emmanuel Mushtaq, Fr. Faisal Francis, Fr. Sunil Irfan, Fr. Baber Shahzad and Br. Ayub Thomas.
Fr. Francis Nadeem OFMCap, Pakistan
As policymakers face the magnitude of the 1.5-degree challenge, new technologies and approaches for capping temperature increases—referred to as climate engineering or geoengineering—are under growing discussion.
These approaches and technologies are in the early stages of development, carry significant uncertainty in terms of their effectiveness, are unproven at scale, and hold the potential for large-scale unintended consequences. Each technology in the geoengineering toolbox raises weighty ethical questions.
To equip religious groups to understand and advocate on these issues consistent with our moral values, GreenFaith has released a new report, Playing God? Multi-Faith Responses to the Prospect of Climate Change.”
The report is designed to help readers to understand the basics of geoengineering, recommendations for governance of the field, and religious and spiritual perspectives on the ethics of climate intervention.
Statement by the Heads of UN agencies, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and UNFPA, calling for solidarity with survivors and survivor advocates and women’s human rights defenders who are working to prevent and end violence against women and girls.
To commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign is calling upon us to stand in solidarity with survivors and survivor advocates and women’s human rights defenders who are working to prevent and end violence against women and girls. Our duty is not only to stand in solidarity with them but also to intensify our efforts to find solutions and measures to stop this preventable global scourge with a detrimental impact on women’s and girls’ lives and health.
The last year has been extraordinary in terms of the awareness that has been raised on the extent and magnitude of the different forms of violence inflicted on women and girls. The #MeToo campaign—one of the most viral and powerful social movements of recent times—has brought this issue into the spotlight. This awareness has been further reinforced by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 to two remarkable activists, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, who work on ending violence against women in conflict situations.
More than a third of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Furthermore, research indicates that the cost of violence against women could amount annually to around 2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). This is equivalent to 1.5 trillion dollars.
Beyond raising awareness, governments, the private sector, the artistic community, civil society organizations, academia and engaged citizens are again looking into new ways to urgently address this global scourge.
For more than 20 years, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (managed by UN Women) has been investing in national and local initiatives that translate policy promises into concrete benefits for women and girls, and contribute to the prevention of violence in the long run.
As part of the Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls, a global, multi-year partnership between the United Nations and the European Union, we are working with different partners to increase the scale and level of ambition of our interventions. We understand that reducing and preventing violence against women is transformational: it improves the heath of women and children, reduces risks of acquiring HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), improves economic productivity and educational attainment, and reduces the risks of mental illness and substance abuse, among other benefits.
Through the Spotlight Initiative, our agencies are mobilizing an array of stakeholders to address both the root causes of violence as well as its most immediate consequences. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative fully integrates the principle of leaving no one behind. Spotlight will also build on existing good practices and evidence-based programming, as well as incorporate new solutions for accelerated results.
The UN family is working tirelessly with our partners to strengthen legal frameworks and institutions, to improve services for survivors, and to address the root causes of violence by challenging social norms and behaviours and tackling the wider gender inequalities.
Ending violence against women and girls is not a short-term endeavor. It requires coordinated and sustained efforts from all of us. Showing that these efforts yield results is the best tribute to survivors and the survivor advocates and women’s human rights defenders that we are celebrating today.
On October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we embarked on the climate pilgrimage from St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican to Katowice, Poland, the site of this year’s UN climate talks, COP24. The 1500 Km (950 Miles) walk will last for over 30 days with several climate advocacy events scheduled along the way to Katowice. Prior to our departure from the Vatican, we had prayers and blessings led by Fr. Don Francesco Pesce, the Vicar of the Diocese of Rome. We also had a few words of encouragement from Yeb Saño, the former lead climate negotiator for the Philippines and the leader of The Climate Pilgrimage. You might recall the devastation of the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,000 people and was likely made more powerful by climate change. Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are among the pilgrims. They are marching in solidarity with the most vulnerable people and lifting up a strong cry for climate justice.
Three hours into our first day’s journey, we stopped for an online ecumenical prayer service that was organized by the Global Catholic Climate movement and joined by Christian and environmental leaders from around the world.
The Climate Pilgrimage shares a message of care for creation along the way encouraging communities to address the core message and calls to action in the way that best suits the local contexts. Wherever we stop to rest we take the opportunity to meet the local community to listen and to share with them our call for climate justice. More information about the pilgrims’ call to action is here. Several days into the journey we have walked and had conversations with people in different communities along the way including Anguillara Sabazia, Campagnano di Roma, Romita di Cesi, Spoleto, Trevi, Foligno, Assisi, etc see the Italian part of the journey.
We are on this pilgrimage because we want to raise a prophetic voice for action on climate change. Grounded in the values of the Catholic faith, we want to urge leaders to act in courage and love to protect the Earth. Achieving this vision will protect people around the world, especially the most vulnerable.
Our pilgrimage is guided by laudato si,’ Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on climate change and ecology. Many of us pilgrims are Catholic, and all of us are grateful for the wisdom in the encyclical, which is addressed to “every person living on this planet.” (3)
Laudato Si’ encourages us to see that “a great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of
renewal.” (202) We pray for the healing of humanity’s spirit. We pray for justice for the poor and vulnerable, who are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate
change–its dirtier air, sicker families, more extreme weather, and growing hunger.
Laudato Si’ draws us toward an “ecological conversion,” in which the values of our
faith–love of our Creator, love for our neighbours– is demonstrated in how we preserve
the resources of our common home. (216) We pray for ecological conversion among people of faith and all people of good will.
As I walk along with other pilgrims from different parts of the world praying, singing and admiring the mountains, valleys, trees, flowers, birds, and the people we meet along the way, I realize, like Saint Francis, the beauty of creation and the image of God in each one of them. I am reminded of St. Francis’ Canticle of creatures and his view of “cosmic fraternity”, the idea that all creatures have dignity in them and so we need to treat them as our brother and sister.
A Swahili proverb says Mwenda pole hajikwai. “He who moves forward slowly does not trip” so our pilgrimage went forward slowly but surely. Walking, we discovered that the world desperately needs dreamers who bring together their individual dreams. Hopes that unite the different people. People who bring together actions, small gestures, good practices. Everyone who can help to stop climate change.
Why do we walk? Because as Erlin Kagge, a Norwegian writer, says: “I put my shoes on. I let my thoughts wander a bit. And now I’m sure of one thing: putting one foot in front of the other is one of the most important actions we can perform. So let’s go.”FOCSIV Italia,
Ben Ayodi OFMCap
A group of more than 4,000 Honduran migrants who are attempting to reach the US border overland have crossed into with Guatemala – despite warnings that they would be turned away at the border. Singing the Honduran national anthem, praying and chanting, “Yes, we can,” the group, who say they are fleeing violence and poverty, crossed the border on Monday afternoon and headed towards the city of Esquipulas.
“We are not criminals, we are migrants… Like the ancient Israelites, the Honduran people are walking in their exodus, fleeing from political and economic slavery imposed by corruption and the deterioration of government systems. There are many forced migrations and in Latin America these migrations are marking the current history” Agenzia Fides http://www.fides.org/en/news/64932-AMERICA_HONDURAS_We_are_not_criminals_we_are_migrants_three_thousand_Hondurans_fleeing_their_country
The migrant caravan has swelled from about 1,500 to 4,000 since setting out last week from San Pedro Sula, which has become one of the world’s most dangerous cities thanks to a toxic combination of gang and state-sponsored violence, corruption and impunity.
In Chiquimula, Guatemala, the big group was received well at the Capuchin pastoral centre. The Capuchin friars at the centre provided vital necessities including food, water, medicine, accommodation and other amenities before the group moved to the next town.
Shelters and churches along the border have been flooded as a result of the surge as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been releasing hundreds of migrants from detention at a time.
The group includes dozens of families with infants and children who hope travelling in numbers will reduce the risk posed by criminal gangs that prey on vulnerable migrants. The passage through Mexico is one of the world’s most perilous migration corridor. Rampant violence and poverty in Central America continue to force people to abandon their homes in search of safety and jobs. Honduras remains one of the most dangerous countries in central America.
Many of the Hondurans travelling in the caravan are children, some travelling with their parents and some without. Because children are afforded special protections in the United States, their arrival is creating anxiety within the Trump administration, which has pledged to decrease illegal immigration. President Donald Trump said last week that he would consider separating migrant families at the border once again, after reversing his controversial “zero tolerance” policy in June. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is tracking the caravan as the Hondurans make their way north toward the U.S. border.
Source: Agenzia Fides
Children from different schools including Islamic seminaries of Lahore expressed their ambitions for peace through paintings and artistic, models during an Art Exhibition held at St. Mary’s High School, Gulberg, Lahore. This significant occasion was organized by the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ Conference – Pakistan).
Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap (Executive Secretary National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue & Ecumenism), Br. Faisal Francis OFM Cap, Moulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, Moulana Mufti Ashiq Hussain and Moulana Muhammad Mukhtar were the Chief guests of the occasion. The guests inaugurated the Peace Art Exhibition by cutting the ribbon.
In his message, Fr. Francis Nadeem emphasized the need for the promotion of peace and tolerance. He expressed that today the entire world is in the grip of terrorism. In our motherland, the situation is also terrible. He appealed to the entire nation to be united and work together for the restoration of peace, progress and stability of the country. He said that we are one nation and it is our national duty to contribute our efforts for this dignified cause.
Moulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom and Mulana Mufti Ashiq Hussain appreciated the emotions and ambitions of the children while watching the paintings and posters on the subject of peace. The celebration ended with the prayer of peace. The prayer was led by Br. Faisal Francis OFM Cap.