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Vatican explains plans for 'day of reflection' at Assisi

Catholic World News - April 04, 2011

The Vatican has outlined plans for a "Day of reflection, dialogue, and prayer for peace and justice in the world," to be held at Assisi on October 27.

On January 1, the World Day for Peace, Pope Benedict XVI announced his desire to hold this event, commemorating the historic event convened at Assisi by Pope John Paul II in 1986. This year's observance will fall on the 15th anniversary of that meeting.

The Vatican statement explains that all genuine believers, regardless of their particular faith, have a shared interest in peace and shared grounds for dialogue:

Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one's own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism.

The 2011 observance will also be open to non-believers, the Vatican said, noting that the October 27 celebration will be open to those "who while not professing to be religious, regard themselves as seekers of the truth and are conscious of a shared responsibility for the cause of justice and peace in this world of ours."

The day in Assisi will begin with a series of addresses by participants, including one by Pope Benedict. After a simple lunch, there will be time for silent meditation and prayer, done on an individual basis. In the afternoon all participants will be invited to join in a silent procession to the basilica of St. Francis, where again they will pray in silence.

The schedule as outlined by the Vatican does not include any shared vocal or public prayers. On the eve of the event, however, Pope Benedict will lead a prayer service at St. Peter's basilica; other religious groups are encouraged to schedule their own times of prayer in preparation for the meeting.

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