A Synodal Interfaith conversation with His Eminence Cardinal Mario Grech Towards unity and peace

Manila, Philippines (January 23, 2024). In celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and in anticipation of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, Religions for Peace Philippines organized a High-Level Multi-Faith synodal conversation with His Eminence Mario Cardinal Grech, the Secretary General of the Synod, to share experiences and common vision towards collective action.

Rev. Fr. Carlos Reyes, ACRP EC-Member and RfP Philippines Co-President welcomed the delegations emphasizing the commitment to one’s religious identities as key component of celebrating diversities towards unity and peace.  Dr. Lilian Sison, ACRP EC-Member and RfP Philippines President shared the history and milestones of interreligious dialogue efforts of Religions for Peace in the Philippines.  Friendship, according to her, is the key towards deepening mutual trust and respect that will lead us into interaction action.

Cardinal Mario Grech presented the ongoing synodal efforts of the Roman Catholic Church and the significance of consultation with the ecumenical and interfaith communities to listen to them towards becoming a synodal Church. He also shared his faith journeys and the vision of Pope Francis’ for a synodality church and the synodal process.  The process, according to him, includes a renewal and rediscovery of new expressions and approaches of the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue as essences of attaining global solidarity and peace.

The senior religious leaders are the following:  Rev. Fr. Carlos Reyes, Minister-Ministry of the Interfaith and Ecumenical Affairs of the Archdiocese of Manila; Elder Steven R. Bangerter, President-Philippine Area Presidency of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Venerable Miao Jing Shi, Head Abbess-Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, Selim Serinoglu, President-Pacific Dialogue Foundation; Imam Ebra Moxsir, President of the Imam Council of the Philippines; Dr. Lilian J. Sison, President-Religions for Peace Philippines; Ma. Victoria Mandap, Center Coordinator-Brahma Kumaris; Ms. Minnie Anne Mata-Calub, General Secretary-National Council of Churches in the Philippines; Bishop Mel Rey Uy, Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Ecumenical Affairs; Bishop Cesar Punzalan, III, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches; Bishop Dindo Ranojo, General SecretaryIglesia Filipina Independiente; Bishop Justice Raoul V. Victorino, ChairpersonIglesia Unida Ekyumenikal; The Rt. Rev. Rex B. Reyes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines; Bishop Ariel C. Santos, Charismatic Episcopal Church; Bishop Nonie Aviso of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

The religious leaders shared too their faith journeys based on the many ecumenical and interfaith activities. Amidst the many issues, concerns and challenges, the multifaith leaders expressed their commitment to work and journey together to promote social harmony and contribute in building peace in the country through regular meetings and collaboration for common action.

The meeting took place at the Pope Pious XII Catholic Center Manila on January 23, 2024 and was facilitated by Ms. Haidi F. Fajardo, Communication Director of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, and deputy director of Religions for Peace Philippines, and Prof. Pablito Baybado, a faculty member of the Institute of Religion-University of Santo Tomas and Coordinator of the UniHarmony Partners Manila.