Truth and peace should be the aim of any dialogue, especially interreligious dialogue, according to Archdiocese of Davao’s Council for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue (ACEID) Director Rev. Fr. Pedro P. Lamata during the 4th National Media Convention (NMC2018) held in Davao City last August 8, 2018.
“Those who promote interreligious dialogue must be persons well-formed in their particular traditions, possessing a clear religious identity,” emphasized Fr. Lamata, “It must not aim conversion…but aim to be a pilgrim of truth and peace.”
Speaking before an audience of NMC2018 delegates and community officials gathered in the Barangay Hall of 23-C Darussalem (Mini Forest), Davao City,, he then discussed what dialogue is and its importance. This was in line with the Plenary Talk entitled, “Uban ta, Bai! (We Journey Together). Dialogue of Peace! On Interreligious Dialogue (IRD)”.
“At the purely human level, it is reciprocal communications leading to a common goal or, at the deepest level, to interpersonal communications,” he quoted from a document of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Mission (PCIDM).
He added that in communication one should not only focus on the idea but on the constructive relation with individuals and communities of other religions, which must be based on obedience, truth, and respect for freedom that are directed in mutual understanding.
He also stated that Catholic Communicators must reach out to people of other religions to create a dialogue understood with the “attitude of respect and friendship” that’s inclined with the mission of the Church.
Citing from PCIDM’s document, Fr. Lamata identified the forms of interreligious dialogue as: Dialogue of Life, in which one is open to each other by sharing our thoughts, moments, sorrow, and joys in life; Dialogue of Action, by this one applies all the learnings and faith that one possesses as a good follower of Christ to collaborate with other religions for the integral human development; Dialogue of Theological Exchange in which one seeks and deepens one’s understanding of religious heritages, which must be represented in conversations and to appreciate the spiritual values of one another; and Dialogue of Religious Experience in which persons share their own religious traditions and spiritual riches in life.
He then shared his experienced with the Muslims of Davao in 1996 and the A’immah-Priest-Pastors Forum (APPF) in 1997 that was conducted in schools through seminars on Peace Education. He said that Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, D.D. has recently instructed him to give more focus on other parishes in the Archdiocese of Davao where there are Muslim communities for its program on Dialogue for Peace and Development so that the IRD (Interreligious Dialogue) Ministry will be further strengthened.
They also organized grassroots activities on the days of Ramadan called Duyog Ramadan”, which means “to support Ramadan”, where GKK/BEC leaders and members offer food and drinks to Muslims after their fasting. Both parties have reciprocating activities where Catholics are enjoined to participate during the Eid’lFitr and other Islamic festivities while Muslims during Parish Fiestas and other celebrations. When there are calamities like typhoons and especially during the Marawi Siege, Catholics from Davao provided charitable gestures to support the Muslims in Davao.
On its fourth year, the National Media Convention is spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Social Communications (CBCP ECSC) headed by Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara. During the said plenary talk setup us as a forum, Bishop Vergara paid a surprise visit to the NMC2018 delegates who where allowed to enter the Mosque and immerse with the Muslim Community. (~John Martin Tito De Guzman)