Columbans call on Christians to fast and pray this weekend

With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish New Year both opening this weekend, the Columbans have called on Christians to join with other Abrahamic traditions in prayer and fasting.

The St Columbans Mission Society's centres for Christian Muslim Relations and Peace Ecology and Justice have called on Christians to pray and fast in the lead up to the Christian feast of St Francis of Assisi.

"At this time when fear and uncertainty are present in the community because of violence, terrorism and war, we enter a period when sacred time of the three Abrahamic traditions converges," the Columban centres say in a joint statement.

Rosh-ha-Shana, the Jewish New Year, will this year take place tomorrow and will be followed on Sunday by the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to the statement signed by Anne Lanyon and Sr Pauline Rae of the centres.

The Jewish fast of Yom Kippur will take place a week later beginning at sunset on 1 October with the Christian feast of Saint Francis of Assisi coming on 4 October.

"If we take the time to listen, perhaps God is saying 'It is time for you to acknowledge the hurts you have done to each other in My name. It is time to dialogue and work together for peace, justice, human rights and healing the wounded earth'", the statement said.

"Let us take this God-given opportunity for Christians, Muslims and Jews to pray together, learn from each other and grow peace in our communities," they add, suggesting a range of possible interfaith solidarity activities.

The authors of the Columban statement suggested that Christians fast in solidarity with Muslims and Jews on Yom Kippur on 2 October which coincides with Ramadan this year.

Jews could invite others to the Sukka (tent) during the Sukkot from 7-13 October and Muslims could invite others to break fast at the end of the day during Ramadan, or to their Eid el Fitr celebrations in November, they suggested.

They added that the feast of St Francis of Assisi could also be an opportunity for Muslims and Jews to learn about and celebrate the life and teachings of a great Christian saint.

Other joint actions could include common action to protect human rights in Australia and elsewhere, earn together about non-violent conflict resolution, acting for social justice within their sphere of influence as well as by reducing consumption and impact on the natural world, the statement concluded.

Columban Sacred Time (Media Release, Columban Centres)

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Tent of Abraham

22 Sep 2006