News Release

Church, UPM Celebrate 2019 World Interfaith Harmony Week

In the spirit of solidarity, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with its partner, the Uniharmony Partners Manila (UPM), unite in the celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week.

For more photos of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, visit Mormon Newsroom Philippines on Facebook. 

With the theme, “Celebrating Truth, Sincerity, and Forgiveness,” the Church participated in several activities in an effort to spread the message of interfaith harmony, dialogue, and cooperation as essential keys towards nation building.

From 1 to 7 February, the Church and its partners sponsored activities in cooperation with government and non-government organizations, the media and the academe, which helped broaden unity and understanding among different faiths.

On 2 February 2019, the Church sponsored an Interfaith Youth Peace Camp, which aimed to foster understanding, appreciation, and respect for each individual’s unique faith traditions, develop commonalities and to build friendship between future faith leaders.

Now on its 6th year, the peace camp brought together over 100 youth from different religious groups, including Roman Catholics, Aglipayans, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, the Focolare Movement, and the Church. Young participants from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Belgium, Italy, and the US also joined the activity.

On the fourth day of the WIHW celebrations, diplomats and faith leaders converge in a breakfast gathering with His Eminence Louis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at his home in Intramuros. In his speech, which highlighted the breakfast meeting, the Archbishop of Manila shared how important it is to bring back the tradition of families sharing meals together. He warned that the fabric of the family is changing because of families failing to dine together. He shared that eating together as a family is not just about food. It’s about lives being interwoven and connected because of the stories shared across the dining table between husbands and wives, parents and children, and siblings.“The family that eats together stays together,” Cardinal Tagle said.

At the conclusion of his special message, Cardinal Tagle reiterated the importance of forgiveness, saying that forgiving is a choice. “True forgiveness arises from one’s sense of justice. In fact, when we forgive, we regain our own humanity,” the Cardinal said.

As the Chinese New Year fell during the World Interfaith Harmony Week, Elder Michael John U. Teh, a member of the Philippines Area Presidency, joined hand in hand with other religious leaders in an interfaith prayer spearheaded by the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple. The prayer encouraged peace, unity, love, and charity among different faith groups. Following the interfaith prayer were colorful cultural performances by students of Guang Ming College, the fifth member of Fo Guang Shan International University Consortium.

Other activities that UPM sponsored for the WIHW included a Symposium on Interreligious Dialogue  by the Focolare Movement, World Cafe: on Interfaith Reflections on Human Rights and Human Ecology by the Peacemakers' Circle Foundation and the Office of Campus Ministry of the Ateneo de Manila University, Forum on the WIHW and Youth Peacebuilding Workshop by the Center of Peace Education of Miriam College, Hijab Challenge and a discourse on Hijab by the University of the Philippines Institute of Islamic Studies, Forum on Spirituality of Peace-Work by the Institute of Spirituality on Asia, and a Conversation on Interfaith Harmony by Brahma Kumaris. 

Furthermore, stakes in Cagayan de Oro, Muntinlupa and Cebu have hosted their own interfaith gatherings to promote camaraderie, harmony, and unity among the local interfaith communities. Stakes in Davao and Dagupan will also host their interfaith gatherings at later dates.

The World Interfaith Harmony Week is a result of Resolution A/RES/65/5 proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 as a way to promote mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue for a culture of peace and harmony between all people regardless of faith. 

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