Catholic Church to host multi-faith prayer services


A multi-faith prayer service will be held in each of New Zealand’s Catholic dioceses to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Assisi Day of Prayer for World Peace. The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations is organising the events, which will take place on or around the 27 October 2011.

The New Zealand services will consist of prayers read from members of different faith communities and conclude with a shared prayer of the Decalogue of Assisi for Peace, a prayer of commitment to peace first used at the 2002 meeting in Assisi. The faith groups participating include Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’i and Sikh.

The St Francis of Assisi Day of Prayer for Peace began on 27 October 1986, when Blessed John Paul II initiated a meeting in Assisi with members of different faith communities. Another meeting followed in January 2002.

On 1 January 2011 Pope Benedict XVI announced that he wished to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the historic meeting by holding a day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world centred on the theme "Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace". He will also make a pilgrimage to the home of Saint Francis along with fellow Christians and representatives of the world's religious traditions.

Chair of the NZCBC Committee for Interfaith Relations, Sr Catherine Jones SMSM, says the Assisi Anniversary is important for us in New Zealand, “as we are drawn ever more into peacemaking in our own lives, in our country, and in the world”.

“Being a "pilgrim" means that we are on a journey with others, seeking the way ahead, step by step, day by day,” she says. “Organising a multi-faith prayer event is an invitation to each one to enter more deeply into our own faith tradition, and to receive the gifts of truth and of peace that other believers can offer us".

New Zealand multi-faith prayer services

Date: Friday 21 October (part of monthly Taize prayer)
Time: 7.30pm
Place: Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 494 Grey St, Hamilton East

Date: Sunday 23 October (in partnership with the Christchurch Interfaith Society)
Time: 2.00pm
Place: At the Peace Bell in Hagley Park, Christchurch

Date: Thursday 27 October
Time: Gathering from 5.30pm for 6.00pm service
Place: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hill St, Thorndon

Palmerston North
Date: Thursday 27 October
Time: 7.00pm
Place: The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, 197 Broadway Avenue

Date: Thursday 27 October
Time: 7.30pm
Place: St Patricks Cathedral, 43 Wyndham St, Auckland Central

Date: Thursday 27 October
Time: 7.30 pm
Place: Holy Name Church, 420 Great King Street