Westminster Interfaith: Promoting Dialogue Between People of Faith

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

Westminster Interfaith Newsletter

Issue 67 – July 2010

Further impressions on the pilgrimage

Dear Jon, Elizabeth, Margaret, Hilda, Mary, a thousand thanks for organising a wonderful Silver Jubilee of the annual Multi-Faith Pilgrimage for Peace. The Pilgrimage route and timetable must have been a Trojan piece of work with the routes and bus stops etc. The highlight for me was the joy of attending the service at the West London Synagogue and the visit to the Fazl Mosque which was so simple and the courteousness of its members. I regretted the Archbishop did not lead the prayer at the tomb of Cardinal Hume but we did and that is all that mattered. It was very moving to see our Sikh friends placing flowers from their garden on the tombs of both Cardinal Hume and Brother Daniel. The prayers from all the different faiths around Brother Daniel's tomb were a fitting end to the day. Once again thank you. It was wonderful to see so many of our friends assisting at the Eucharist in the Cathedral at the beginning of the day. We owe a debt of gratitude to Cardinal Hume and dear Brother Daniel.

With grateful thanks.

Eileen

Jon, I am delighted that things went so well last weekend. It seemed to be a very happy gathering outside the Cathedral as you set off for the synagogue. Congratulations! It seems that there is a lot of goodwill about and the good atmosphere has much to do with your gentle encouragement. I know Archbishop Vincent was pleased.

Best wishes, (Bishop) John

Dear Jon, I joined up - informally (I had not registered beforehand) – the pilgrimage on Saturday. I was only able to attend the first two parts as I had a marriage to organise in the afternoon.

I thought the cathedral piece was excellent and Vincent Nichols talk was very helpful and positive– a good setting of tone.

I was interested in the visit to the Synagogue and found the Sabbath service, though rather long, quite interesting. However, I thought the rabbi who spoke in the sermon was surprisingly out of kilter with what I thought was the tone of the pilgrimage. He used the occasion with more than 100 visitors to subject us to a political statement, and a somewhat pugnacious one too, about events on the high seas around Gaza and Israel. I was offended that the pilgrimage should be so used – or abused. And, while I had planned to leave directly after his speech, I decided to leave during it. I did not make any fuss or say anything since I would not be joining the remainder of the pilgrimage. I did say to the people at the door that I was surprised at being subjected to this kind of aggressive propaganda. Does this augur well for this Pilgrimage of Peace or is it harbinger of something less than peace-seeking?

Sincerely, (Reverend) Padraig Regan, CM.

Dear Jon, Thank you for an excellent day. Would you be able to e-mail me Rabbi Danni's sermon before the newsletter is due? I have a friend who I know would like to read it as soon as possible.

Many thanks,

Margaret Tracey

Dear Jon, Congratulations on yesterday's ambitious programme. You put in an enormous amount of hard work and it paid off. You must be exhausted. One practical suggestion for the future. It came to me as a result of reflecting on how the past few year's pilgrimages have gone: numbers have gone up, especially among the young people, which is excellent, but they seem to be largely Catholics (Focolarini) and there are no (or very few) new Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists etc., just the old faithful. This is only my own impression but, assuming it's correct, it leads to my suggestion: to write to all the places of worship who have hosted us over the past few years and to invite them to join us on our next pilgrimage. Maybe you are already doing this, in which case, more congratulations (on the principle that great minds think alike!). God bless all your work.

(Father) Francis

Dear Jon, Just to say, how much I enjoyed the Pilgrimage on Saturday. It was challenging at times, (but that is a feature of a pilgrimage) but a very rich experience that will take a while to fully digest. Thank you and all your helpers for organising it.

Love & peace,

Stephanie Grant

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