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International Day of Human Fraternity – 4 February

Human fraternity for peace and cooperation

We need — perhaps more than ever before — to recognize the valuable contribution of people of all religions, or beliefs, to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards an improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.

We also need to underline the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions, or beliefs, and the promotion of tolerance, which involves societal acceptance and respect for religious and cultural diversity, including with regard to religious expression. Education, in particular at school, should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief.

Furthermore, we must acknowledge that  tolerance,  pluralistic  tradition,  mutual  respect  and  the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity. Thus, it is imperative that we encourage activities  aimed  at  promoting  interreligious  and  intercultural dialogue in  order to  enhance peace  and social  stability,  respect for  diversity and mutual respect and to create, at the global level, and also at the regional, national and local levels, an environment conducive to peace and mutual understanding.

Within that frame, the General-Assembly took note of  all  international,  regional,  national  and  local  initiatives,  as appropriate,  as  well as  efforts  by religious leaders, to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and in this regard took note also of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled “Human fraternity for world peace and living together”.


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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty – 17 October

17 October presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty.

Participation of the poor themselves has been at the center of the Day’s celebration since its very beginning. The commemoration of 17 October also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to the eradication of poverty.

The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987. On that day, over a hundred thousand people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948, to honour the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger.

They proclaimed that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to come together to ensure that these rights are respected. These convictions are inscribed in a commemorative stone unveiled on this day. Since then, people of all backgrounds, beliefs and social origins have gathered every year on 17 October to renew their commitment and show their solidarity with the poor. Replicas of the commemorative stone have been unveiled around the world and serve as a gathering place to celebrate the Day.


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2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A

LEAVING… there is much leaving in a human life, we know it.

We leave our house for another as we want better accommodation.
We leave a means of transport choosing another more efficient one.
We leave perhaps our job having been offered a better salary somewhere else
We leave some old clothes, looking for more appropriate ones.
We leave, of course, this old software for a more up-to-date one.

It is hard to imagine the situation described by the 1st reading which shows Abram told plainly and simply: “Leave your country…” (Gn.12:1-4).
And for which country? He is not told, he only receives the promise that he will be shown where to go when the time comes.
Other promises are given to him but everything is expressed in the future tense…

Yet, when God stops speaking, the next sentence says: “Abram went as the Lord had told him.”
No doubting, no questioning, no hesitation – he leaves.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews will say: “It was by faith that Abraham set out… that he set out without knowing where he was going” (He.11:8).

 We may leave… with difficulty perhaps, some old habits, some cherished customs.
We may leave… with hesitation probably, some traditions favoured by people around us.
We may leave… or do we? Our long-held beliefs, our pseudo-values…

But perhaps the ‘country’ we are to leave is our… ‘old self’ – the selfish, arrogant, narrow-minded self, the one needing to be transformed by the One who, himself, has been transfigured.

LENT time, a time of setting out, of moving, of LEAVING all that prevents us from being the person God meant us to be. Indeed!

Source: Images:; Pixabay