The Spirit of Assisi: the 25th anniversary celebration on Oct. 27 religious gathering
On October 27, 1986, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Patriarchs of many Eastern Churches, leaders of native religions – 70 religious leaders in all – made history when they gathered in Assisi, Italy to talk and pray together for peace in the “Spirit of Assisi.”
This year, on October 27, religious leaders will again gather in Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clare, patrons of peace and reconciliation, to continue their dialogue.
The Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, will also commemorate the “Spirit of Assisi” with a public prayer service at their home, The Canticle, 841-13th Ave. No., on Thursday, Oct. 27, beginning at 6:30 pm.
“In the footprints of Francis and Clare, we are all called to walk the path of peace as pilgrims” said Pope Benedict in inviting other religious leaders to join in the commemoration, “to pray and fast for justice in our world, and to dialogue with one another in an effort to discover creative ways to build peace in our own day.”
“Just as persons of many faiths will gather in Assisi as ‘pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace,’ we invite all our neighbors to join us in prayer on Thursday evening,” said Clinton Franciscan Sister Joan Theiss who is coordinating the service.
“The Spirit of Assisi carried an important message,” she said. It affirmed that the desire for peace is shared by all people of good will; but taking into account the situation of the world today and the relationship between peoples, it recognized that real peace can only be achieved through an intervention by God. That will be the hope of our prayer.”
John Paul II, who initiated the original gathering, said that he chose the city of Assisi as location for this day of prayer due to the special significance of the saint venerated here, St. Francis, who is known by many all over the planet to be a symbol of peace, reconciliation and community. So the Pope decided to promote this initiative “in the name of St. Francis, the man,” he said, “who breaks down barriers, who knows how to open doors and who is brother to all.”
“Today,” noted Sister Joan, “religions are not only asked to dialogue among ourselves, but to reach out to all people whether they are believers or not. Even more, we are now being challenged to reach out beyond humanity, because violence is being visited on God’s creation as well. There is an ever-growing consciousness in all religious traditions that respect and peaceful relations must be fostered between people and between people and all creatures.”
Sister Joan explained: “Our hope is that if we come together in the Spirit of Assisi and pray as believers in the way our respective religious traditions have taught us, we will be strengthened to commit ourselves to concrete actions that will allow us to work together to confront the threats to peace and to the environment that we face in our world today.”
For more information call Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611 or visit www.clintonfranciscans.com.
CUTLINE: The late Pope John Paul II at the opening of the 1986 “:Spirit of Assisi” gathering in Italy. The 25th anniversary will be celebrated at The Canticle, Clinton, at a public prayer service on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 pm.