16 December 2021

The Principles of Interreligious Dialogue for Christians and Muslims

JPII Leader Fr. Mak Caesar Abagna’s Worskhop in Ghana

This summer, JPII Leader Fr. Mak Caesar Abagna (Cohort XI) implemented a 2-day workshop on the principles of interreligious dialogue for Christians and Muslims in Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese, Ghana. The project aimed to introduce 100 participants to the principles of interfaith dialogue, peaceful coexistence among religions by building bridges and promoting our common fraternity.

The core group of the workshop’s audience were the Diocesan Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue members, which is an important sign of the diocesan leadership interest in dialogue. Furthermore, Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, and leaders of the Muslim communities, as well as representatives of the traditional African faiths attended the workshop. Hence, the initiative united and opened up prospects for future collaboration between people who practically deal with believers of different faiths in Ghana on a daily basis.

“The biggest challenge was to involve Muslim leaders at the regional level. Many of them have never participated in such interreligious initiatives. So we decided to invite other people as intermediaries to engage them into the workshop,” shares Fr. Mak Caesar. He also points out that the main lesson learned from this project was the importance of collaboration. Speaking about the immediate reactions from both the priests and Muslim leaders who participated in the workshop, Fr. Mak Caesar admits, “It is very clear that such forums make a great contribution to the Christan-Muslim relations and their common interfaith work in Africa, a region which is often ignored.” He adds, “I believe that the support of the JPII Center in this field is a significant undertaking that should be sustained.”

This initiative sought to offer some interreligious education for the leaders working in Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan IRD Commission who are often not trained in this field. Also, it aimed at bringing the Muslim community and the African Traditional religious leaders on board to understand what the dialogue is about. The project succeeded in both directions and gathered the top leadership of the Catholic Church and the Muslim community. The Bishop of the Catholic community and the Regional Chief Imam of the Muslim community took part in the workshop. Participants showed great interest in the project and its follow-up activities.

“The relevance in taking such an initiative lies in the philosophy of the power of education. If you want to shape the minds of people, then that can be done effectively through education, education, and education, based on the truth which alone liberates people to fully be and to act,” inspiringly concludes Fr. Mak Caesar.

This initiative was funded by the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue through a JPII Leaders Grant. We congratulate Fr. Mak Caesar Abagna on the successful implementation of his project promoting interreligious peace solidarity in Ghana!