POPE FRANCIS VISITS CHURCH OF ST. AUGUSTINE, TOMB OF ST. MONICA – INTERRELIGIOUS SOLIDARITY IN SERVICE TO A WORLD STRUCK BY COVID-19

POPE FRANCIS VISITS CHURCH OF ST. AUGUSTINE, TOMB OF ST. MONICA

Pope Francis this afternoon made an unannounced visit to the basilica of Sant’Agostino (St. Augustine) near Rome’s celebrated Pza. Navona that houses the tomb of Saint Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Today is the memorial of St. Monica, who died in 387.

The following photos were taken by EWTN’s Daniel Ibanez who, knowing it was the saint’s feast day, decided to visit the church!

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Built in the 13th century, Sant’Agostino is the mother church of the Order of Saint Augustine and hosts works by Renaissance artists including Caravaggio, Raphael, Guercino and Bernini. The façade was constructed with travertine taken from the Colosseum.

St. Augustine was bishop of Hippo in northern Africa from 396 to 430, and was buried here when he died on August 28, 430. Over time, with the persecution of Christians in this area, his remains were moved to Sardinia and, in 720, when Sardinia also became dangerous his remains were moved to Pavia, northern Italy. This Doctor of the Church now rests in the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro in an elaborate marble reliquary.

INTERRELIGIOUS SOLIDARITY IN SERVICE TO A WORLD STRUCK BY COVID-19

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the World Council of Churches call for Christians to reflect on “the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

By Vatican News

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) on Thursday released a joint document. In it, they call on Christians to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity as the world confronts the Covid-19 crisis.

“Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19,” is aimed at encouraging “churches and Christian organisations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The document provides a Christian rationale for interreligious solidarity in response to the crisis but is also aimed at followers of other religions, “who have already responded to Covid-19” with similar reflections based on their own traditions.

“Because interreligious relationships can be a powerful means of expressing and building solidarity, and of opening ourselves to resources coming to us from beyond our limitations, we invite reflection on how we as Christians can become partners in solidarity with all people of faith and goodwill. In this journey towards solidarity, different communities are inspired and sustained by the hope we find in our respective traditions.”

In the document, the PCID and the WCC find a basis “for interreligious solidarity in our belief in the God who is one in three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

In a series of statements, the document notes that all human beings are a family, created by God according to the Father’s plan; that “our trust and our hope are in Jesus Christ”; and that we are “all connected by the work of the Holy Spirit.” This serves as a foundation for universal solidarity, following the example of Christ in serving others, inspired by the spiritual force of the Spirit which “turns us towards God in prayer and towards our neighbours in service and solidarity.”

The document continues with shared Christian principles that can “guide us in our work of serving each other in a wounded world, together with all people of faith and goodwill.”

These principles include humility and vulnerability, respect for others, compassion, dialogue, repentance, gratitude and generosity, and love.

The heart of the document lies in a series of recommendations for how Christians can serve our neighbours, and serve alongside them.

It asks Christians to consider finding ways to bear witness to suffering; nurture solidarity through common forms of spirituality; encourage and support the idealism and energy of the young; and restructure projects and processes for interreligious solidarity, among other ideas.“Love one another”

In the statement introducing the document, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, President of the PCID, notes that the Covid-19 pandemic “has exposed the woundedness and fragility of our world, revealing that our responses must be offered in an inclusive solidarity, open to followers of other religious traditions and people of goodwill, given the concern for the entire human family.”

The interim general secretary of the WCC, Dr Ioan Sauca said, “In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the human family is facing together an unprecedented call to protect one another, and to heal our communities.” He added:

“Interreligious dialogue not only helps clarify the principles of our own faith and our identity as Christians, but also opens our understanding of the challenges—and creative solutions—others may have.”

 An excerpt from “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19,” along with a link to the full text (PDF file), can be found on the website of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.