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Rome Reports

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How the pope plans to promote interreligiuos dialogue in Assisi

Benedict XVI "In the month of October, I will go on a pilgrimage in the city of San Francisco. I invite fellow Christians from different confessions and from different traditional religious backgrounds, to join us in this journey.”Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is among those responsible for this event. Card. Kurt Koch President, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity "Much thought and preparation has gone into this gathering. We?ve gone about it very seriously. The Holy Father wants to call on all Churches, on all religions, because religion shouldn?t be linked to forcefulness or violence, but rather to peace and thought. The world has changed a lot in the last 25 years.”The big event will take place on October 27th. The pope and other religious leaders will travel from Rome to Assisi by train. Scientists, philosophers and academics will also take part. Card. Kurt Koch President, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity "All Christian Churches are invited as well as all other religions. What?s new is that the Holy Father has invited agnostics. Even though agnostics aren?t members of a religious community, they too search for the truth. The main theme for this meeting is a pilgrimage, a path toward the truth.The pilgrimage will go beyond simple calls for peace. The Vatican says it will be a day of “reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice.Card. Kurt Koch President, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity "I think it will be a very positive sign for our time, for our secular world. Religions don?t want violence. Therefore, all Christian churches, all religions have a responsibility to build justice and peace. This isn?t possible if we don?t strengthen the connection between faith with reason.”Participants will speak at the Church of Santa Maria de los Angeles, where the meeting first took place back in 1986. Then, in the Basilica of San Francisco, they will pray individually in silence. Finally together, they will agree on promoting peace. A day before this gathering, there will be a prayer vigil in St. Peter?s Square. It?s being described as a crucial step in building friendships among the different religions of the world. BR/KLH FF JM PN