Pope to interfaith gathering: God hears cry of innocents
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in a major interreligious gathering in Israel. Organized by the Neocatechumenal Way – a group dedicated to giving Christian formation to people who are already members of the Church – the three-day gathering brought more than a hundred Rabbis, seven Cardinals, and dozens of Bishops, together with Catechists of the Neocatechumenate from May 4-7.
The twofold purpose of the gathering was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the Conciliar Decree Nostra aetate and to mark the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of WWII, and the Shoah.
In a written Message, Pope Francis told the participants: “United to you I pray to the Lord that He may listen to the cry of the innocents and He may heal the pain of all those who are suffer. I pray that the hearts may be opened to the invocation of the innocents all over the world.”
Below, please find the full text of the English-language press release on the event, issued by the Neocatechumenal Way
On May 4-7, 2015, in the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, as well as in the recognition of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the Shoah, we have gathered in Galilee, in the State of Israel. 120 Rabbis coming from all over the world, 7 Cardinals, 25 Bishops and 50 Priests, met with initiators of the Neocatechumenal Way, Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernandez, together with Fr. Mario Pezzi and some itinerants, to live together for three days in communion and love.
We have felt the presence of the Lord and we have been witnesses of a really impressive event that has left all the participants deeply moved.
Through this experience, we have understood that something profound is changing in the relations between Jews and Christians, and that truly, after Nostra Aetate, God is committed to open a way of communion between Judaism and the Catholic Church.
We were impressed by how, in the Neocatechumenal Way, faith is being transmitted to the children, families are being rebuilt and people are coming to know the Scriptures and the roots Christianity: from this a great respect and love for the Jewish people is born.
A Symphonic Homage and Prayer, composed by Kiko Argüello, remembering the tragedy of the Shoah, helped us to focus on the suffering of the innocents, which continues today also among Christians in some countries of Africa and the Middle East. We expressed our shared commitment to the presence of God in the world and our common desire to engage in tikkun olam, in repair of the world for all humanity, including increased concern for the suffering of the poor, for greater respect for creation and for strengthening the family.
Reflecting on Nostra Aetate and the dramatic change it promoted, great opportunities and challenges were highlighted. However an immense change from the prejudices and divisions of the past is being born and this event foreshadows a new relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
Pope Francis sent a personal message to the participants where he wrote: “United to you I pray to the Lord that He may listen to the cry of the innocents and He may heal the pain of all those who are suffer. I pray that the hearts may be opened to the invocation of the innocents all over the world.”