Pope Francis to attend interreligious peace event in Rome

CNA 5de968a32417d 173044 Pope Francis greets pilgrims after the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, Nov. 27, 2019. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Pope Francis will attend an ecumenical prayer service and an interreligious ceremony for peace in Rome next week, the Vatican announced Friday.

The prayer service will be held at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in the afternoon on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and will include participants from other Christian traditions.

Following the prayer, Pope Francis will also join in a ceremony with representatives of the world's major religions, to take place in Campidoglio Square.

The square, which sits on Rome's Capitoline Hill, was designed by Michelangelo. The square's surrounding buildings house a city museum and Rome's town hall. The Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is also on the Capitoline Hill.

The interreligious ceremony will follow the prayer service. It will include speeches, the proclamation and delivery of the 2020 Appeal for Peace, the lighting of a peace candle, and a socially distanced sign of peace.

A minute of silence will be observed to remember the victims of wars and of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to Pope Francis, other participants will include Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople; Haim Korsia, Chief Rabbi of France; Mohamed Abdelsalam Abdellatif, the Muslim General Secretary of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity; and Buddhist Shoten Minegishi.

The prayer service and ceremony are both organized by the lay Catholic community, Sant'Egidio.

The ecumenical service is called "An Encounter of Prayer for Peace in the Spirit of Assisi," and the theme is "No one is saved alone -- Peace and Fraternity."

At the same time as the Christian prayer service, people of other religious traditions will be praying in their respective places of worship.

On its website, Sant'Egidio quoted Pope Francis' latest encyclical, "Fratelli tutti," which says that "the different religions, based on their respect for each human person as a creature called to be a child of God, contribute significantly to building fraternity and defending justice in society."

"It is in the spirit of these words of Pope Francis... that the Community of Sant'Egidio has promoted the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace between the large world religions," the website stated.

After the reading of the peace appeal, a group of children will deliver the appeal to ambassadors and to international and Italian political leaders in attendance.

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