South Asian Franciscans Commemorate the 800th Anniversary of Encounter between St. Francis and Sultan

Franciscan Major Superiors from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India gathered at the Camillian Pastoral Centre in Bangkok, Thailand from 18 – 24 August 2019 to reflect on the Franciscan Missionary Charism and how it could be effectively transmitted in the region. Sixty Franciscan Major Superiors present for the gathering considered it an opportune time to celebrate 800th Anniversary of Encounter between St. Francis and Sultan. Religious leaders from Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism were present for the commemorative event. These leaders stressed the value of peace and dialogue in a multi-cultural society. Admiring St. Francis and the Sultan for their courage to initiate a dialogue, each of the speakers shared how both men were inspiring in their own ways for everyone committed to peace. The event was organized by Association of Franciscan Families in India (AFFI) under the umbrella of South Asian Franciscan Initiative (SAFI). Br. Praveen Henry D’ Souza OFM, Minister Provincial is currently the President of AFFI.

A month before, at another event, the heads of various religions showed their grit and determination in voicing loudly yet convincingly for a respectful dialogue, peaceful co-existence, and harmonious relationship during the Inter-Religious Event on Dialogue, Peace and Harmony on 27 July 2019, in Bengaluru, India.

The Franciscan Family in the Archdiocese of Bengaluru under the patronage of its Archbishop came together to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the historical peace expedition of St. Francis.

As this anniversary opens the avenues of dialogue among the religions, the Franciscans in Bengaluru left an indelible impression of inter-religious dialogue by inviting leaders from different religions who spoke on the importance of peace and harmony and how it is possible to find the common ground for peaceful and harmonious existence in the world in spite of our differences.

Speaking about the event, Br. Praveen said that this event was just a beginning. He added, “The Franciscans ministering in Bengaluru and elsewhere in India commit themselves to promote respect for all faiths, to encourage dialogue across various religions and to create peaceful environment walking in the footprints of St. Francis of Assisi.”