INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK
FEBRUARY 1-7, 2016
Interfaith Harmony Week is upon us once again. It is a wonderful and important time to rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of World Peace by practicing Interfaith Spirituality based on mutual love and respect. Interfaith Harmony Week challenges the idea that the practice of religion necessarily leads to exclusivism, intolerance, and violence. All over the World, people of faith are in the forefront of justice, human rights, and peace-making. It would do us well to review our own faith as we hold ourselves accountable to those virtues by which the peoples of the World will be better served through our faith practices and beliefs.
First, we must be careful we are not influenced by the politics of fear, hatred, stereotyping, and greed. The separation of “State and Church” does not require the separation of virtue and life. Those charged with political power must appreciate they are in service to others especially the powerless and the voiceless. Oftentimes people of faith must become the voice of those who voice is not heard. Never be afraid to speak up for what is just.
Second, the rights and the dignity of women must not be seen as secondary but essential to the practice of Interfaith Harmony. No religious belief, practice, or community is exempt from recognizing women as complete human persons with God-given dignity that must not be compromised by outmoded believes and practices.
In the last analysis, we are charged with caring for the Earth as our home. The poor are the first victims of ecological irresponsibility. We must recognize and invite others to be aware of our responsibility to live on Earth with respect for the common good of all. As Pope Francis teaches, the Earth is our common home.
Continue to dialogue with friends, neighbors, family members, and perfect strangers in the pursuit of justice and peace. Let the virtues of Interfaith Harmony Week touch your life and practice throughout the year. We will be sending you daily faith-based reflections during the coming Interfaith Harmony Week encouraging you in your pursuit to bring peace and harmony to all.
A special thank you to Walter Ruehlig and the Rev. Margaretmary Staller who contributed their time and effort to this endeavor. We are grateful to all who shared their reflections and thoughts for us to ponder and appreciate.
Thank you for all you do to bless others. Thank you for the gift of you. Be aware of our prayers, love, and respect for you.
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
with the Advisory Board and the Board of Directors