The new conflict in Mindanao that started last May 23 in Marawi is becoming one of the most challenging problems in the recent history of the Philippines. The high number of victims, the destruction of the city, the people who have been forced to leave their houses, the martial law, the fear and hatred among groups and clans and the increasing religious radicalism with violence urge all of us to move with more courage and creativity.
Why so much violence and what will be the future of Mindanao with all the negative signs of today and what to do to dream again the future peace in Mindanao?”
These questions have challenged the Silsilah Dialogue Movement to do more in many ways in the past and now especially through the program called: “ Madaris Gurus and Catechists.
In the past years many teachers of Madaris (plural of Madrasa) and the catechists of Zamboanga, Basilan, Jolo, Davao and other places have benefited by this program of Silsilah. This is a special training to gather together madaris gurus and catechists of a certain area, by groups, inviting them to live together for a few days to build respect, trust, friendship and teach them the concept of Christian-Muslim dialogue. Guided by this spirit they are invited to teach parts of their lesson in the spirit of dialogue.
To achieve this goal they will be guided to learn more about the Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace. For us this is a spirituality that has to be first experienced on the personal level to be effective on the social level. Thus, we teach the participants dialogue with God, with the self, with others and with creation according to to his own religion. This includes also dialogue in families, communities, in the same religion and in all aspects of life. For this reason we usually include in the teaching of the Culture of Dialogue the concept of personal and social transformation and what normally is presented as intra and inter religious dialogue.
Our experience is that after these trainings most of the participants start to be more dialogical among themselves, not only in school, but also in society. A touching experience among the many is what the madaris gurus of Jolo shared with us on one occasion. Jolo is a land of conflict and the presence of the Christians is less than 5%. Many Christians have left especially in recent years for the many acts of violence and kidnappings where the victims are especially Christians. The positive story is that after the training in Silsilah the madaris gurus and the catechists start to become friends and when they meet in the market area or other places they smile and greet each other. This is also the experience of other participants in other areas and this can be considered positive stories and signs of hope.
The conflict in Marawi has opened the eyes of many to a reality that in the past military and other leaders used to deny. It is already open news for all and the sad experience of the increasing conflict justified by an increasing intolerance of the part of the more radical groups. They now do not only go against the Christians, but also against Muslims who are not like them and with the same orientation. Some of the Muslims are considered “ Kafir” ( infidel) by those who claim to be Muslims but not of the same orientation .
This reality can not be denied any more. All now know about the ISIS/Maute group present in Mindanao and other groups who are not so well known yet, but are also dangerous.
In addition to this training, Silsilah will also intensify other programs especially in schools in collaboration with youth leaders and groups willing to share the spirit of dialogue and peace that Silsilah promotes. This plan will start from Zamboanga and will reach many others, especially in all the areas where Silsilah is present with groups called SILSILAH FORUM. At present the active Silsilah Forum areas are in Tawi-Tawi, Siasi, Jolo, Basilan, Sibugay, Pagadian, Cotabato, Kidapawan, Davao, Manila, Antipolo and other places where the groups are at the first stage of growth.
It is our desire and hope to identify among the madaris gurus and catechists those who are willing to join Silsilah to share this experience and become Instruments of dialogue and peace in our society.
We can not deny that we continue our mission with sadness considering that in spite of our efforts and the efforts of many others for dialogue and peace in Mindanao there are still many victims of violence. There are those who get discouraged but for us who have experienced in the past also the pain of other friends who have been killed in their mission of dialogue and peace, we are renewed by God’s presence and the spirit of Padayon ( move on) and continue to move and encourage all to continue to dream for a future real and sincere peace in Mindanao.
(This article is courtesy of Silsilah Dialogue Movement. Thank you Silsilah for faithfully sending me newsletters about our interfaith movement. – Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD)
Dear Vocation Promoters,
Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines
will once again celebrate the yearly
Vocation and Mission Awareness Week on
September 25 to October 1, 2016 with the
theme: “ I have called you by name”.
Congregations are invited to join the
Mission Exhibits, Vocation Talks and Eucharistic Celebrations.
Interested vocation promoters may communicate with
Fr. Macwayne Maniwang, CICM
(Vice-President for Mission and Identity/ Parish Priest) on or before
August 5, 2015 (Friday).
His contacts are: email@example.com, 442 – 2193/2793 loc. 246.
All the best for the Lord’s vineyard!
Is your light hiding under the bush? Remember that you are the salt of the earth and light of the world. Let your light shine as the Prophet Jeremiah says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Let us all hear God’s calling as we invite you to join and be a part of the
Happening on Thursday, 4th day of August, 2016
from 1pm to 10 pm at the
Diocesan Shrine of Jesus, the Divine Word,
Christ the King Mission Seminary,
- Rodriguez Sr. Ave. Quezon City.
A sports activity, thanksgiving mass and a tribute dinner will be held on the said day.
Come share your time, talents and energy. Treat yourself with fun and excitement while the value of faith and love of God is shared.
You won’t want to miss this significant and triumphant event.
Hope to see you there.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DAVAO
on the President-Elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte
“The Archdiocese of Davao respects and listens with humility to the views and statements of our Incoming President Rodrigo Roa Duterte about the Church, including those that may be difficult to accept and things that may be contrary to our teachings.
Even during the pre-election period, we have always maintained a peaceful relationship with him and our doors are always open to him.
We are one with the people of Davao in acknowledging all the good things that he has done especially to the poor and the marginalized.
We join him in prayer asking for divine wisdom and enlightenment as he begins his journey as the new leader of this land.”
Msgr Paul A. Cuison, JCD
Archdiocese of Davao
Silsilah Summer 2016: An Answer to Violence and a Sign of Hope
Summer time in the Philippines is changing. One reason is the present climate change we experience. Aside from this is the change being felt in our educational system. Schools and universities now apply the new schedule policies that make school openings in the month of August. Despite these changes, we here in the Silsilah Dialogue Movement still arrange our summer schedules coinciding with the months of April and May. We organize different activities especially here in Harmony Village, the home base of the movement for such activities and formation programs.
As a tradition, we conduct the Summer Course on Muslim-Christian Dialogue. It is one of the basic activities that has been conducted for over 20 years now in Harmony Village although it started in 1987, and conducted in the first 10 years in other places before we acquired the land now known as Harmony Village. We are happy that this year, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this program for Muslim-Christian Dialogue. We are grateful to many who have been helping us to maintain this formation program every year and we are happy that we have formed thousands of Muslim and Christian leaders from Mindanao and also from other regions in the Philippines and even other countries.
The Summer Course is divided into three parts: Basic Course, special Course, and the Intensive Course. The Basic Course usually runs for four weeks where participants will have the opportunity to study together the basic teachings of Islam and Christianity. The course also includes instructions for the Arabic language and specially the lessons of dialogue as a theory and practice. Participants in this course are sent for a family immersion during weekends. This is a special time in the week when Christian participants live with a Muslim family and Muslim participants live with a Christian family. After the Basic Course comes the Special Course, a week-long program wherein participants are presented with a special topic for the year. This year’s topic is centered on “The power of Social Media and the challenge to use it for Dialogue and Peace.” The last of these three courses is the Intensive Course. Like the special course, this is a week-long program where the basic teachings of Islam and Christianity are presented in a few days, integrating it with topics about dialogue. This also includes a day-long exposure in chosen areas in Zamboanga City.
We also continue this year the tradition to conduct a youth camp for young Muslims and Christians organized by the SilPeace, the youth group of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, committed to promote dialogue and peace. This activity is usually conducted in the upper part of Harmony Village where there is a camp site with a beautiful view overlooking the sea. This year, it will be conducted on May 10 to 15. From May 15 to 16, we will have a gathering of the coordinators of the Silsilah Forums spread in different cities in Mindanao including Luzon. At present, we have Silsilah Forums in Tawi-Tawi, Siasi, Jolo, Basilan, Sibugay, Pagadian, Davao, Kidapawan, Midsayap, Cagayan, Iligan, Marawi, Cotabato, Quiapo, and Antipolo. This experience is growing and this year, it will be strengthened because on May 17 – 20, we will have the Silsilah National Alumni Gathering 2016. This will be a gathering of those who have attended the different summer courses along the years as well as those who have attended the different trainings and formations conducted by Silsilah. On this occasion we can have a sharing of experience and support each other on how we can serve, as a sign of hope, in a society that is becoming more violent and divided and where the relation between Christians and Muslims is becoming more complicated because of international influences that promote radicalism specially among some groups who claim to do this in the name of Islam and therefore promoting violence in many parts of the world.
This alarming situation is a challenge for Silsilah to strengthen the collaboration among our members. We hope that this National Alumni Gathering will be a great opportunity where we can share positive stories of dialogue coming from the participants after attending the summer course that change their lives, promoting the Culture of Dialogue, Path to Peace convinced that this is one of the important ways to build a society where we see one another as brothers and sisters.
For more details: Silsilah Dialogue Movement
If you are coming to Cebu for the celebration of the Fiesta Seňor 2015, and you wish to participate in all activities, then, please download these two important maps: the route of the Procession and the route of the Translacion. My special thanks to Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA for the media kit.