Singing & praying for peace

Saturday, 29 October, 7.30pm, there will be a concert for peace in the “Spirit of Assisi” at Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church, Sydney, hosted and presented by the Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Holy Spirit. Stephanie Dowrick will MC this significant evening which features a range of community and professional choirs, instrumentalists – including famed flautist Jane Rutter – and singer/musicians, including Kim Cunio and Heather Lee.

Background to this historic, joyful event follows:

On 27 October 1986, Pope John Paul II called the leaders of the world’s religions together in Assisi, Italy, to pray for peace. It was an unprecedented, courageous and historic event. The choice of the city of Assisi was not by chance. It was the city of St Francis whose life 800 years ago was a strong example of peace and dialogue with all peoples, a life which continues to inspire people of all faiths and those who struggle with faith. Twenty five years later, Pope Benedict XVI has called together religious leaders to remind us all of the importance of dialogue and prayer. Throughout the world, similar events will be replicated in October 2011.

The Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Holy Spirit (Australia – Aotearoa New Zealand) are collaborating with others to present major public events to commemorate the original gathering of religious leaders. Friar Paul Smith, Provincial Minister of the Province of the Holy Spirit, invites you to participate in remembering the ‘Spirit of Assisi’ as best you can.

“In Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, there are public events where we invite you to join religious leaders in prayer, music and song. No matter which is our faith tradition, we are all called to discover creative ways in which to seek dialogue, build peace and harmony and work for justice in our own day.

“Our world has changed so much in the past 25 years. More than ever we need to foster deeper dialogue that leads to peace. Rather than only looking for a pathway to peace, we must ensure that peace is the pathway along which we all walk together. Prayer together can prepare that path.”

The Franciscans invite you to share in these events. We invite you also to pray in your own way, in your own home, that our world will be a place of peace and harmony, hope and reconciliation, justice and respect.

“The Spirit of Assisi reminds us that, just as for Francis and Clare, prayer is an essential element in the search for peace. Like the two saints of Assisi, prayer should lead us to dedicate ourselves to the search for peace in concrete and effective ways.

We must promote the work of peace at all levels of society, and our Franciscan presence in so many different settings is a perfect opportunity to move it forward.

In the spirit of Francis, we challenge world leaders to seek the ways of dialogue, nonviolence and peace.”

And from Stephanie Dowrick: ” I invite each of us in the spirit of Assisi to honour what we can bring to one another to create and establish peace, co-operation, trust and joy in living. Far and wide, close to home and far from home, may I know all people as my brothers and sisters and protect them from harm. May we all be well and happy. May we live in peace.”