Franciscan NGO Nesakkaram in India Celebrates Anniversary of St. Francis Meeting the Sultan

Nesakkaram-SEEDS, a Franciscan NGO serving in Chennai (India) celebrated the 800th anniversary of St. Francis meeting the Sultan on 21 September 2019 at their annual “Women Cultural Fest.”  Walking the footprints of St. Francis, Franciscan NGO – Nesakkaram, wanted to honor the Muslim women and to show them the deep respect and reverence that St. Francis showed to the Sultan.

There are 143 women Self-Help Groups coordinated by Nesakkaram, hailing from different religious, cultural and economic backgrounds. Their thirst for growth and progress in life have brought them together as a group to save money and address the needs of the family. Despite coming from various religious backgrounds, these women manifest a great respect towards one another in the group and create an atmosphere of a family within each group.

100 Muslim women were escorted to the stage as the Parai (Tamil Cultural folk Dance with Music) resounded its beats of welcome. Fr. Charles Bernard, the Vicar Provincial of OFM Franciscans in India explained the importance of this anniversary and its relevance and impact in life today. He called on the gathering of around 2000 women to promote peace, dialogue and harmony. All the Muslim women on stage were honoured with a white shawl as a sign of peace and harmony. The gathering of women then prayed the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis in one voice.

Br. Joseph Raj, the Director of Nesakkaram, speaking on the event said that the Nesakkaram as an NGO is committed to inter-religious harmony besides its number of social activities. He added saying that the Nesakkaram would be organizing similar events in the future with the purpose promoting peace and harmony in the society.

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