On October 27, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI hosted over 300 delegates, including believers from the world's religions as well as non-believers. These delegates, representing billions of both believers and non-believers, gathered to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the 1986 first Assisi Day of Peace called by Pope John Paul II.
On a pilgrimage of peace and truth, the delegation traveled together by train and foot to Assisi, Italy where they shared meals, dialogued and reflected in solitude and silence. Several leaders gave short presentations. Pope Benedict XVI’s presentation broadened the 1986 and 2012 Assisi Days of Peace from a focus on conflicts and wars to that of current crises. These included social, cultural and economic inequalities as well as ecology, hunger and religious discrimination.
On the Monday following the event, I received e-mails that expressed appreciation to the Vatican for hosting the pilgrimage of peace and truth from a national Sikh community, from a Rabbi in Jerusalem and an Evangelical professor. The latter was amazed to find he was seated with highest ranking Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant leaders. The professor later wrote an almost hourly account of his participation and indicated the very special time that was spent in a place and time of silent solitude.
A component of this third Assisi Day of Peace, spending time in silent solitude, is available to all.
Here in Chicago, we have the opportunity to participate in another component of the day of peace and truth - an Interreligious "Assisi" Observance.
All are invited to participate in the Annual Interreligious Thanksgiving Observance "Unity, Hope and Peace" on November 16, 2011 from noon until one o'clock at the Chicago Temple First United Methodist Church, Washington and Clark. Representatives of twelve religious communities in Chicago will express thanksgiving, unity, hope and peace from their traditions. This annual observance, sponsored by the Chicago Center for Cultural Connections, uses the Assisi Model of Interreligious Prayer.
Visit: Archdiocese of Chicago, Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs - Assisi Prayer