Today marks the 25th anniversary of the 'Spirit of Assisi' gathering for prayer and dialogue to bring about peace and justice in the world. In addition to representatives of the religions of the world, nonbelievers also were invited. The day of Assisi took the form of a symbolic "courtyard of the Gentiles".
To avoid the criticism of reletavism or syncretism no common prayer was said. Instead, the participants each took to a private room for some 90 minutes of meditation and reflection according to their respective traditions. In a ZENIT interview an editor from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore, explained, "interpretations of syncretism in '86 missed the pope's point".
The title of today's gathering was "Pilgims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace". Here's a link to today's address given by Pope Benedict XVI. The event was recorded and is available for viewing.
Coverage and Commentary:
L'Osservatore Romano: God in History
CNS: Pope prays Assisi pilgimage will foster dialogue, peace
CNS: Among Assisi participants, a sense of deeper crisis in modern society
Whispers in the Loggia: At Assisi, the peace train rides again
Some members of the fraternity are familiar with the story of Takashi Nagai. I only learned of him this year and I regard him (along with his wife Midori) as one of the greatest Catholic figures of the 20th century. As I noted in an earlier post his statue is one of eight (called The Beatitudes) adorning the entrance to the Fr. Solanus Casey Center in Detroit Michigan. His cause is currently up for canonization. The following is a two part podcast telling the remarkable story of Tagashi Nagai, a doctor, a Catholic, and a survivor of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki.
If you're not familiar with the story of Takashi Nagai you don't want to miss this message. Even if you are familiar you'll probably want to revisit this remarkable tale told anew. The links to the show notes contain more information including a preview of a new film being produced.
The Saint of Urakami Part I #268: In the first part of a two part episode, we are introduced to Takashi Nagai and follow his journey from atheism and materialism into Catholicism as he seeks answers to the deepest questions of his heart. (31 minutes)
Link to the show notes for part I
The Saint of Urakami Part II #269: In the second of a two part episode, Takashi Nagai uses his faith to find meaning his suffering after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and uses that faith to inspire hope for others. (36 minutes)
Link to the show notes for part II
The two podcasts were produced by Fr. Seraphim Breshoner, TOR. He is professor at Franciscan University Steubenville and has produced over 250 podcasts with a general theme of 'Catholic history and theology from a Franciscan perspective'. The title of his weekly show is called Catholic Under the Hood.