The SOR (School for Oriental Religions) based in Tagaytay in the Philippines organized a four-day Dialogue School from the 23rd to the 26th of February in the village of the youth Wu Kai Sha (YMCA) in Hong Kong with the theme: “Proposing Alternative Models of Poverty Alleviation in the Experience of Religions “.
People from different parts of Asia, Europe and North Africa of different religions participated in this school.
A kaleidoscope of various realities characterized this school of dialogue in particular on the afternoon of the second day for the departure into paradise of Silvio Daneo, an Italian focolarino, an old friend-brother known by everyone and also considered as one of the founding “saints” of the Focolare Movement in Asia. When news came that Silvio’s health was in serious condition at the beginning of the School of Dialogue, immediately put all the participants before God and at the fateful hour of his departure a few hours later, a few minutes of silence was done by all not only to make a prayer for his eternal rest, most of all to express their deep gratitude to him for the Ideal they received.
Various interventions by speakers of different religions were made not only to learn about the various oriental religions that have made a significant background and importance especially for the concreteness of the various proposals and prototype projects already started by some to alleviate poverty in their various environments.
A venerable Buddhist, a cardinal and two Catholic bishops, an economist, a sociologist, an entrepreneur, a philosopher, delegates of Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism and others made the line-up of the various interventions that were special moments to make everyone enter into each other’s reality.
One of the aspects that created the most interest for everyone in the room due to its relevance in today’s life was the presentation and the various experiences on the Economy of Communion and on the social projects of the Movement.
“I saw the importance of Eastern religions today but what struck me the most is that we are living the same reality of building a more united, more human, more amiable world!”, an Indonesian girl said so emotionally.
“The experiences shared today certainly gave me a strong impression that we should never ask or look at others when we are in need because each of us in spite of everything, have always something to give. In fact, it seemed to me that Jesus himself gave me the solution to alleviate the misery of the poor when I felt Him telling me: ‘. . . you yourself should give them something to eat!’, said a volunteer from Pakistan.
“My parents being Muslims are not the types that allow me to participate freely in the activities of the various groups but they have always left me free to participate in the activities of the Focolare Movement because it teaches me only to love God and to serve and to see the presence of the Divine in the other. “, said a Muslim girl from the Philippines.
“I have already participated in many School of Dialogue, and I have also conducted some of these schools along with others but in these four days I realized that the various interventions shared despite being beautiful and deep, seemed sounding a little bit redundant to me because the things said were already visible and living in each one of us in the hall, at lunch or dinner and in the various activities. We did the real School of Dialogue by living and doing dialogue with our hearts and life with one another “, says a volunteer from Hong Kong.
“I remembered Chiara these days when she said that in all religions there is the Seed of the Word. I can truly say that in these days of experience together, this Seed of the Word seemed to me to have grown in all of us, making us all One in God. “, a girl from Malaysia was saying.
“I always like being accompanied by young people when I walk, holding my arm, it must be due to my elderly age and for my weak knees but here, there seemed to be a race of those who want to accompany me and I cannot understand or know who’s Christian, Muslim or Buddhist or otherwise, because we really seemed to be just a family! “, exclaimed an elderly lady from the island of Palawan.
“Of course, the various experiences we’ve heard today are all wonderful and rooted in God and I was so impressed by the presentation and experience of Amata from Korea’s Seong Sim Dang (Bakery of the Sacred Heart), especially when she lost everything due to a fire. She went to church not to ask for a miracle while the flame devoured her bakery, she only told Jesus that everything passes away and He is her only Good! So I asked myself if Jesus is really the only Good in my life and this immediately put me before God. “, Bishop Mallari said during his homily in Holy Mass on the third day.
Here’s just a taste of some of the impressions shared to me by some participants because I’m sure if I would have asked everyone that I met on my way as to how they have lived these days, I would not have done the things I had to do due to lack of time.
Indeed, to alleviate poverty in the world, as the various experts in the economy of communion and the various religions also said through their experiences is that each one of us has the responsibility to do it and each of us should only do his/her part well and to put into practice his/her religion to solve this.
The atmosphere of divine brotherhood that revolved together with the experience of unity in this school of dialogue experienced by each of us in these days is practically the real solution to bring into our environments to alleviate poverty, being only love and being family to everyone.