Russell Berrie Fellow Sr. Josmy Jose FMA (Cohort XV, India) received an official invitation from His Eminence Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot to participate in the sixth Colloquium, organized by the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue (DID) and the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS). Held in Rome, Italy on May 3 and 4, this important and prestigious Colloquium was organized around the theme of “Creative Commonalities between Christianity and Islam” and gathered a small and selective group of experts in the field.
The Colloquium was opened with remarks from Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot and His Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, chairman of RIIFS. Sr. Josmy, a delegate of the 12-person Catholic delegation, was one of 24 international Catholic and Muslim participants who hailed from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, France, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Tunisia, and India.
Delegates presented on the current state of Muslim-Christian dialogue in the world. Each presentation was followed by discussions that engaged important questions and comments among the participants. “Some of the personal and institutional experiences were very enlightening in promoting creative dialogue,” remarks Sr. Josmy.
On the second day of the Colloquium both groups of delegates were received by His Holiness Pope Francis in his Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. Pope Francis offered words of encouragement to the delegates and pointed to the perseverance of this journey of interfaith and intercultural dialogue, with RIIFS having been founded in 1994 in Amman, Jordan, under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal.
Pope Francis emphasized friendship as a means of continuing to build bridges of peace and solidarity. “He also remembered the people who are suffering in Turkey and North Syria,” notes Sr. Josmy, “The words and the very presence of Holy Father Pope Francis brought a lot of joy and gratitude to each of the delegates present in the colloquium.”
The Colloquium ended with generative discussions, ideas, and suggestions from the Christian and Muslim delegates. “The search for common platforms to express these diversities remains a challenge and an opportunity,” shares Sr. Josmy, “The awareness of a call to global citizenship is another key point that resounded all throughout the Colloquium.”