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International Dialogue and Prayer for Peace Forum: 'To live peacefully, be ready to forgive'

Father Markus Solo Kewuta with Cardinal Louis Sako, Patriarchate of Ur-Chaldea, Iraq, and his secretary (Photo |credit: Katolikana)

Divine Word Father Markus Solo Kewuta, an Indonesian Vatican official in the field of interreligious dialogue, said that to create a culture of interreligious conversation, people must be willing to forgive and have the courage to let go.

“Living in peace requires a readiness to forgive, the bravery to concede, and the development of a culture of discourse, a culture of cooperation, a culture of meeting and getting to know each other, as well as mutual respect and a spirit of reciprocity,” said Father Kewuta in an interview with Katolikana.

He reportedly stated this in response to the international meeting and prayer for peace in the Spirit of Assisi with the topic "The Cry for Peace” in Rome from October 23-25.

This international gathering was attended by religious leaders from all over the world and Italian government authorities.

Din Syamsuddin of Muhammadiyah and KH Marsyudi Suhud, Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, led the Indonesian Muslim delegation.

The priest said that Italian President Sergio Mattarella, French President Emmanuel Macron, Secretary General of the World Muslim League Muhammad Bin Abdul Karim Al-Isa, French Jewish leader Haim Korsa, Founder of Sant Egidio Dr. Andrea Riccardi, and Chair of the Italian Bishops' Conference Cardinal Mattaro Zuppi attended the meeting. 

"Religion must be a component of the solution, not the problem," said President Mattarella, echoing Pope Francis' sentiments from his speech.

Father Kewuta, according to Italian President Mattarella, also underscored that there is no holy war. There exists a divine calm.

In response, President Macron provided the world encouragement and hope by asserting that peace is always possible, regardless of how difficult the circumstances are.

Macron, as quoted by Kewuta, added, "It takes guts, and one must not despair."

This time, the Cry for Peace program spanned three days and concluded with a Common Prayer at the Colosseum, attended by Pope Francis.

Father Kewuta stated that something was intriguing about the Sunday evening presentation. The account of Olga Makar, a Ukrainian girl who fled the assault on the capital of Kyiv during the Russian invasion of Ukraine some time ago, is one of them.

"Thousands of people in the big hall received her story with a thunderous ovation as a show of their support for peace in Ukraine," stated the priest.

The priest said that the gathering was organized by the Sant Egidio Catholic Lay Movement based in Rome, which hosts the same event every October.

This conference was conducted to celebrate the International Day of Prayer, which Pope John Paul II held in Assisi on October 26, 1986, with hundreds of world religious leaders for the first time in history.

This year, for the 36th time, Sant Egidio is hosting it at the Nuvola Auditorium in Rome. -Kasmir Nema


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