Earlier this month, a youth gathering was held in Assisi to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the interfaith Day of Prayer for Peace, held at the invitation of Pope John Paul II as part of the International Year of Peace in 1986. About 100 youth attended this year”s event, half Christians and half from other religious groups, including Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Bahai, Tenrikyo and Brahma Kumari.
Together, the attendees released a message: “From Youth, to Youth,” saying “We encountered one another with honesty and sincerity to build up the bonds of fraternity that unite us all as brothers and sisters in our humanity, fashioned by and in God. From our commonly held desires for happiness, justice and truth, we entered into genuine dialogue. ”
“We young people represent a new generation and a new hope. We resolve to return to our families and communities, to be advocates for interreligious and intercultural understanding and respect. We accept the responsibility of continuing the dialogue begun here in Assisi and we fully commit ourselves to working for justice and to be instruments of peace in our homelands and in every corner of the earth.
“As we look to the future, we are greeted with starkly contrasting visions: a future of religious conflict and violence and a future where our religious faith enables us to discover what we share at our deepest level as members of the human family. May we all seek the prayer that “does not divide but unites.”
- Report on Interreligious Meeting at Assisi (Zenit)
- Message from Youth, to Youth (Zenit)
- Address of John Paul II to the First Day of Prayer, 1986 (Vatican)