Official program for the interreligious meeting in Assisi (October 27, 2011)

Source: FSSPX News

Here is the official program for the interreligious meeting in Assisi on October 27, 2011, as it was announced at the time when this issue went to press.  In the next issue of DICI we will analyze precisely how this gathering played out and study the statements that will have been made by the various speakers during this “Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world” on the specific topic:  “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”.

Wednesday, October 26, St. Peter’s Square in Rome, at 10:30 a.m., a liturgy of the Word will replace the general audience.

Thursday, October 27, at 7:30 a.m., the representatives of the various religious will board the Frecciargento train, which will not carry any journalists.  Indeed, the press offices will be located in Assisi.  At 7:50 the pope arrives by automobile at the Vatican station.  The train is scheduled to depart at 8:00;  the heads of the most important delegations travel in the pope’s car.

The anticipated time of arrival in Assisi is 9:45 a.m.  The delegates leave the train to board a bus that brings them to the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels.  The pope will get off the train last and will be greeted by the Italian authorities.  He will be welcomed by Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, the Archbishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino.  A representative from the government will be present, Gianni Letta, undersecretary at the headquarters of the Council of Ministers, as well as the Italian ambassador to the Holy See, Francesco Maria Greco, and the mayor of Assisi, Claudio Ricci.  The railway station chief for the station “Santa Maria degli Angeli”, Massimo Antonini, will also participate in this welcoming ceremony.

At 10:15 the delegations are seated in the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels.  Pilgrims will be able to follow the proceedings on giant screens outside the basilica.  □□ Benedict XVI will be greeted on the plaza in front of the basilica by Fr. José Rodríguez Carballo, Minister General of the Friars Minor;  Fr. Marco Tasca, Minister General of the Conventual Friars Minor, Fr. Mauro Jöhri, Minister General of the Capuchin Friars Minor, and Fr. Michael J. Higgins, Minister General of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis.

At the portal of the basilica, the pope in turn will welcome all the heads of the delegations, who will be presented to him by the cardinals whose dicasteries are involved in this interreligious meeting.  All then will take their places on a platform.  Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will pronounce a word of welcome before the projection of a video commemorating the 1986 meeting. Next will follow speeches by Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, Rowan Williams, Primate of the Anglican Communion, and Norvan Zakarian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese in France.

After a brief selection of organ music, the speeches will continue with Olav Fykse Tveit, Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Rabbi David Rosen, a representative of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, and Wande Abimbola, a delegate for the Yoruba cult and the Ifa method of divination.  Originally from the region of Nigeria, Togo and Benin, Yoruba has developed on the American continent.  Some of its deities, which represent the forces of nature, the orishas, are found also in voodoo.  It has been registered on UNESCO’s representative list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2008.  (Editor’s note)

The next speakers will be Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami, a representative of Hinduism, Ja-Seung, President of the “Jogye Order” of Korean Buddhism, Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi, Secretary General of the International Conference of Islamic Schools, and Julia Kristeva, a French psychoanalyst of Bulgarian extraction, representing non-believers.  At the conclusion, Benedict XVI will take the podium.

At 12:30 p.m. the pope and the heads of delegations will enter the convent of the Portiuncula.

At 1:00 p.m. then will have a frugal lunch in the refectories of the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

From 1:45 and 3:30 will be a time of silence for reflection and/or personal prayer. One room in the guest house adjacent to the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli will be assigned to each of the participants.

At 1:45 young people will set out from the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels toward St. Francis Square, the place where the preceding gatherings were held.

At 3:15 the delegations are bused to St. Francis Square, where each one immediately goes to the sector reserved for it.

At 3:45 Benedict XVI and the heads of the delegations travel by bus to St. Francis Square.

At 4:30 Conclusion:
- A word from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
- Solemn renewal of the Commitment to Peace, which will be read against a musical background.
- Speeches by Bartholomew I, then by the World Lutheran Federation, the Sikh, Patriarch Aleksandr of Moscow, the Muslims, Metropolitan Gregorios of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Taoists, Buddhists, Shintoists, a rabbi;  also by Setri Nyomi of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and by Guillermo Hurtado, representing non-believers.
- The conclusion by Benedict XVI will be followed by a moment of silence.  Then a lamp will be lighted and given to the delegation heads.
- Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will say a word before the exchange of a sign of peace among the delegates.
- During the pope’s departure, the Canticle of Creation by St. Francis of Assisi will be sung.

At 6:00 p.m.  the pope and the heads of delegations who wish to do so will stop briefly before the tomb of St. Francis.  □□

At 7:00 p.m.  departure of the train to Rome.  Expected time of arrival at the Vatican station – 8:30.

Friday, October 28 at 11:30 a.m.:  Meeting of Benedict XVI with the delegations of various religions, followed at 1:00 p.m. by a luncheon hosted by Cardinal Tarcision Bertone, Secretary of State, in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.  (Sources : VIS/Zenit – DICI no. 243 dated October 28, 2011)

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