Xaverian Missionaries Celebrate International Day of Human Solidarity at our New Parish in Morocco

We celebrated the International Day of Human Fraternity in M’diq, where the St Francis of Assisi Church entrusted to the Xaverian Missionaries is located. The event took place via the Zoom platform for different reasons, the most important being that Mrs. Latifa Ibn Zaiten could not reach us because the borders have been closed. Latifa is the woman who, together with UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity awarded the Zayed Prize on its first edition last year.

Mrs. Latifa Ibn Zaiten

Born in M’diq, Mrs Latifa is a naturalised French citizen and founder of Association IMAD pour la Jeunesse et la Paix. This association was created with the aim of honoring the memory of her deceased son, Imad Ibn Ziaten. Imad was a young French soldier murdered by a terrorist, on March 11th, 2012, only because he was a regular soldier. Imad was laid to rest in the cemetery of M’diq.

We went together to the cemetery to pay a simple homage to his tomb. We are certain that, even after his death, Imad’s life continues accompanying the great work his mother is carrying out on behalf of the Human Fraternity. Mrs. Latifa is really happy to meet the Christians of Mdiq next week. Her witness is another precious example of her constant effort to reach out to others and promote the gift and responsibility of peace among the youth within the horizon of universal fraternity. To know the Association IMAD click: https://association-imad.fr/ (Fr. Rolando Ruíz Durán, SX)

What is the International Day of Human Solidarity

February 4 marks the International Day of Human Fraternity. The annual event designated by the United Nations honors the religious and cultural diversity present in our world. Amidst rising religious intolerance in parts of the world, International Day of Human Fraternity seeks to showcase how diverse religions and cultures enrich our life and progress as humankind.

Following the destruction wreaked by the Second World War, the UN was established to promote international peace and cooperation. One of the functions of the global body was to promote fundamental freedom and human rights for all individuals, without any discrimination related to language, religion, race, or sex.

To progress towards these goals, the UN General Assembly, adopted the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, under resolution 53/243 in 1999. The document called for promoting a culture of peace and non-violence for the benefit of humanity.

In its resolution A/RES/65/5 in 2010, the global body established World Interfaith Harmony Week to promote harmony and cooperation among people belonging to different faiths.

The meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, led to the signing of the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace & living Together” on 4 February 2019. To commemorate the momentous occasion and promote the values of peace and understanding espoused in the document, the UN decided to mark the International Day for Human Fraternity.

Global Meaning of Human Solidarity Today

The International Day of Human Fraternity came at a time when several incidents of hate crimes were committed against religious minorities the world over. From the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to the Uighur Muslims in China, and Asians in the West.

In its resolution that was passed in 2020, the UN expressed its “deep concern at those acts that advocate religious hatred and thereby undermine the spirit of tolerance and respect for diversity, especially at a time when the world confronts the unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which requires a global response based on unity, solidarity, and renewed multilateral cooperation.”

Through International Day of Human Fraternity, the UN underlines the importance of raising awareness about different cultures and religions or beliefs and of education in the promotion of tolerance.

The Most Recent Catholic Voice for Human Solidarity

The pandemic has shed greater light on the global problems that Catholic social encyclicals have drawn attention to since 1891. In fact, Pope Francis indicates in Fratelli Tutti that during the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic “erupted, exposing our false securities.” He goes on, “Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident. For all our hyper-connectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all.” (FT, 7)

The title ‘Fratelli tutti’ is an Italian phrase originating from St. Francis’s Admonitions, meaning ‘All Brothers’. Franciscan spirituality focuses on the raw, unfiltered imitation of our Lord: prayer, fasting, and charity. It is in charity that fellowship and fraternity are enabled, and St. Francis extended this imitation to his brothers and sisters to live sacramental lives fueled by the Gospel.

Pope Francis refers to his meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb when he reiterates in his teaching the covenant he signed with the Imam as a gesture of human solidarity from our religious communities:

“In the name of God, who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties, and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love, and peace;

“In the name of innocent human life that God has forbidden to kill, affirming that whoever kills a person is like one who kills the whole of humanity and that whoever saves a person is like one who saves the whole of humanity;

“In the name of the poor, the destitute, the marginalized and those most in need, whom God has commanded us to help as a duty required of all persons, especially the wealthy and those of means;

“In the name of orphans, widows, refugees and those exiled from their homes and their countries; in the name of all victims of wars, persecution, and injustice; in the name of the weak, those who live in fear, prisoners of war and those tortured in any part of the world, without distinction;

“In the name of peoples who have lost their security, peace and the possibility of living together, becoming victims of destruction, calamity, and war;

“In the name of human fraternity, that embraces all human beings, unites them and renders them equal;

“In the name of this fraternity torn apart by policies of extremism and division, by systems of unrestrained profit or by hateful ideological tendencies that manipulate the actions and the future of men and women;

“In the name of freedom, that God has given to all human beings, creating them free and setting them apart by this gift;

“In the name of justice and mercy, the foundations of prosperity and the cornerstone of faith;

“In the name of all persons of goodwill present in every part of the world;

“In the name of God and of everything stated thus far, [we] declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as to the method and standard”. (285)

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