Spirit of Assisi – Singapore

On Oct 27th 2011, the Custody of St. Anthony of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Spirit of Assisi at the Home of the Franciscan Friars in the Piazza where it was attended by 300 or more people. The event was graced by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Singapore Dr. Tony Tan & Mrs. Mary Tan, His Excellency Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia of the Archdiocese of Singapore and the Respected Religious Leaders of the IRO (Inter-Religious Organisation).

The gathering began at 7pm where people were invited to a Halal Vegetarian Dinner and this gave the people time and opputunity  to mingle with one another till the programme proper began at 8pm. The Custos of the Custody of St. Anthony gave an opening address. The Apostolic Nuncio then in his address spoke about the significance of the celebration. The Friars had invited 10 inter-religious leaders to join in the occasion and each took turns to pray in their respective faiths for Peace. A video pre-recorded by Friar Matthew Beckmann of the Province of the Holy Spirit, gave an account of how the Spirit of Assisi began, its history and the intention of the Blessed Pope John Paul II when he gathered the Heads and Representatives of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of the World’s Religions to gather in Assisi for the World Day of Peace.  The friars were privileged to have St. Joseph’s Institution Choir called the SJI Vocal Ensemble who sang three songs of peace and hope. A drama company “Walk on Water Productions”  also inspired the people with  the dramatised reading of Douglas Wood’s “Old Turtle and the Broken Truth”

Below are excerpts’ of Friar Michael D’Cruz and Mr Jaafar Ma, a representative of the Muslims from the Ba’alwie Mosque:

Friar Michael D’Cruz shared during the evening that the event was a reminder of the “need for a deep mutual respect for one another, the need for dialogue and the need to uphold the dignity of human life that God has given.”

Mr Jaafar Ma, a representative of the Muslims from Ba’alwie Mosque, said the gathering was an opportunity for the different religions to demonstrate racial and religious harmony.

After the Respected Religious Leaders had taken their respective turns to pray in their own faith traditions, they joined in the lighting of candles in the Garden of Peace, where when all the candles were placed together, it read the word ‘Peace’ in four languages of English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.

The event was concluded with a simple gesture of a sign of Peace with one another.

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~ by Br. Benedict Ayodi on 11.01.2012.

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