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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
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Assisi pilgrimage preview

October 26, 2011

As his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI asked for prayers for the success of the inter-religious pilgrimage to Assisi that will take place on October 27.

Using the familiar words of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pontiff prayed that God “might make us instruments of His peace in a world still torn apart by hatred, division, selfishness, and wars.” He asked “that tomorrow's meeting in Assisi might favor dialogue between people from different religions.”

Looking forward to the pilgrimage, the Pope augmented his usual Wednesday public audience with a Liturgy of the Word. Originally scheduled to take place in St. Peter’s Square, the event was moved indoors, to the Paul VI auditorium, because of rain. Some people who could not find room in the auditorium were ushered into St. Peter’s basilica, and the Pontiff made a short appearance to speak with them as well.

Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue explained that the purpose of the Assisi pilgrimage is to call upon God to remove those obstacles to peace that mankind has failed to overcome. “Those journeying to God cannot but transmit peace, those who are building peace cannot but draw close to God,” he said.

Vatican Radio offered a thorough preview of the event, including even a feature on the little Vatican train station, from which the pilgrims will depart on Thursday morning.

Secular news accounts looking forward to the even concentrated on the tensions involved in the pilgrimage, noting especially that Pope Benedict has chosen not to schedule an inter-religious prayer service, opting instead for a time in which different religious groups will organize their own prayers. Analysts also noted that some prominent Islamic leaders are boycotting the pilgrimage, and that the Dalai Lama will not attend—although he has voiced his support for the event and will send a representative.


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: imanxufan9901 - Oct. 27, 2011 7:19 AM ET USA

    Who cares if the muslims don't attend. When will we wake up and see them for what they really are!

  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 26, 2011 9:54 PM ET USA

    What is meant by success? Does the Holy Father join with "people from different religions" and at the end of the day cordially agree to disagree despite Christ's command that he teach and baptize in the name of the Blessed Trinity? What example does this convey to the faithful, most of whom have just a cursory grasp of their faith? In our daily lives we dialogue just fine with people from different religions already. But is there any evidence than any of these gatherings accomplish anything?