Religious leaders met in Japan from Aug 3 to 4 to pray for peace in the world and as a response to Pope Francis’ wish to foster dialogue, friendship and peace.
About 2,000 people, including 24 delegates from 18 countries of Buddhism, Shintoism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism came together in Japan at an inter-faith "Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace". The event marked the 30th anniversary of the first ‘Religious Summit’ held on Mount Hiei in 1987.
The religious summit was held in the temple city of Kyoto and at Mount Hiei, the most significant holy place for the Japanese Buddhist denomination Tendai.
Pope Francis sent a letter to Koei Morikawa, the present supreme priest of Tendai, whom Pope Francis met privately in the Vatican on September 16, 2016. The letter was to be read at the annual Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace. The Pope’s letter was delivered and read to participants by Cardinal John Tong Hon, Bishop-emeritus of Hong Kong.
In his letter to this year's event in Japan, Pope Francis asked participants to work and pray to foster dialogue, friendship and peace. This annual religious summit contributes in a special way to the building up of that spirit of dialogue and friendship which allows the followers of the world’s religions to work together to open new paths for peace in our human family, the pope said.
Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, spoke as one of seven panelists at a symposium on terrorism and religion.
"We must increase our awareness that any kind of war is incompatible with true religious ethics," said Bishop Guixot. He stressed that dialogue was a necessity rather than an option.
Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, strongly appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons as a way to foster peace. The archbishop's mother survived the Aug. 9, 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, when he had been in her womb.
The annual prayer meeting closed on 6 August in commemoration of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.(UCAN)