Westminster Interfaith: Promoting Dialogue Between People of Faith

The agency of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster for Interreligious Dialogue

 

 

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Normandy Landings

6th June 1944
D-Day Landings in Normandy


 

 

 
Pilgrimage 2009
 

Zoroastrian Centre

London Fo Guang Temple

London Central Mosque

London Central Mosque
from Regents Park

West London Islamic Centre

West London Islamic Centre
Brownlow Road

Exterior front West Ealing Hindu Centre

West Ealing Hindu Centre
Argyle Road

Flag of HM Prison Service

Flag of HM Prison Service
Holloway Prison

Street outside N London Buddhist Centre

North London Buddhist Centre
Holloway Road

Sri Lankan Centre a former Drill Hall

Sri Lankan Muslim Cultural Centre and Mosque
Whitefriars Avenue

Sikh Prayer Hall

Prayer Hall
Brent Sikh Centre

Westminster Interfaith Newsletter

Issue 62 – July 2009

Pilgrimage for Peace

The multifaith pilgrimage for peace is traditionally held on the first weekend in June, usually on the Saturday, although it has taken place occasionally on the Sunday. Apparently, in the early days, when Brother Daniel was in charge, it even took up the whole weekend!

This year, the pilgrimage was held on Saturday 6th June, coinciding with the 65th anniversary of D-Day, which saw many world leaders, including President Barack Obama and our Prime Minister Gordon Brown, gathered in Caen to remember and pay their respects to all those who had died in the Normandy landings in 1944, which marked the beginning of the end of World War 2. The previous day, in his quest for world peace and reconciliation, President Obama had visited Dresden, which had virtually been destroyed by Allied bombs in 1944 and Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps, where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Nazi regime. Six million Jews were killed. On the 4th June, he was in the Middle East, where he hoped to re-open peace talks between Palestine and Israel. These important events were very much in the minds and hearts of our pilgrims and hosts as we went from one place to another. They were even referred to during question and answer sessions at some of the places of worship, and perhaps rightly so, because peace and reconciliation are at the heart of the multi-faith pilgrimage for peace.

Apart from drawing together people from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnic groups and religious traditions to journey together, as pilgrims, in solidarity, as members of the one human family, to visit holy places of worship, where we could pray, learn about each others' faith traditions and practices, as well as share food and drink. An important aspect of the pilgrimage is to witness to interfaith harmony and understanding and demonstrate, in a tangible way, the power of religious belief in fostering peace and reconciliation, wherever we are.

This year's pilgrimage was an ambitious affair, which was rendered more complicated by the amount of engineering work that was taking place on the underground. It also rained in the morning but this did not seem to deter any of the pilgrims. We met and set off from 3 different points in London, mainly train stations, except the Central London group, which very wisely met at a café. Each group visited two different places of worship in the morning: a temple and a mosque. One group were even guests of the multi-faith chaplaincy of Holloway prison. Then we all came together for lunch, which was provided as usual by Sachkhand Nanak Dham International at the Zoroastrian Centre in Rayners Lane, where, among other delights and inspiring talks, we were treated to a wonderful portrayal of the Spring Festival by the Zoroastrian children.

Young people on stage

Re-enacting the Spring Festival
Zoroastrian Centre

After lunch, we travelled as one single group to two other places of worship in North London: the Sri Lankan Muslim Cultural Centre and Mosque and the Brent Sikh Centre.

The organization of the pilgrimage seemed to puzzle a number of people. Some thought there were three pilgrimages taking place simultaneously, others were disappointed that they could not visit all the places. Many others were more concerned about the amount of travelling we had to do on public transport. So were we, even though we had worked it out quite carefully beforehand and knew it was feasible. It was certainly going to be different and a bit challenging. But that was in the nature of pilgrimages.

We planned the three-pronged approach to the pilgrimage so that we could visit smaller places of worship, which were unable to cope with the large number of pilgrims, who normally take part. Last year, for instance, we had to by-pass a number of places that could not accommodate us, but were very keen to receive us. They could only take 15-20 pilgrims at a time, which would have meant that the rest of the group had to remain outside or wait their turn. That was not a satisfactory solution. We were hoping to include them this year. In the end, many of the smaller places were not available on the day. Those we did visit, even with greatly reduced numbers, were still quite stretched to cater for the expanded number of pilgrims, who turned up unexpectedly. Our hosts, bless them, took it all in their stride. Indeed, it was wonderful to see so many pilgrims of diverse faiths, gathered together in the different locations. I was particularly encouraged and delighted to see the large gathering of enthusiastic and happy pilgrims enjoying each other's company and their food at the Zoroastrian Centre, where the three strands of the pilgrimage converged for lunch.

Jon

Pilgrims viewed from balcony, Zoroastrian Centre

Lunch in the Zartoshy Brothers Hall
Zoroastrian Centre

 

See also Pilgrimage – Central London venues
Pilgrimage – North London venues
Pilgrimage – West London venues
Afternoon venues

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World leaders at Caen, 6 June 2009

World leaders attend
D-Day Memorial Service 2009


 

 

 
Pilgrimage 2009
 

Zoroastrian Centre

Best foot forward!

Prayer Hall, Regents Park mosque

Prayer Hall
London Central Mosque

Explanation, West London mosque

An Imam explains
West London Mosque

The 'Om' symbol

Om symbol
West Ealing Hindu Centre

Holloway Prison

Grounds of
Holloway Prison

Buddha wallhanging

Wallhanging
North London Buddhist Centre

Jon and the Imams at Sri Lankan Mosque

Jon and the Imams
at the
Sri Lankan Mosque

Pilgrims in Sikh Prayer Hall

Men and women sit on opposite sides in the Sikh Prayer Hall

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