2019: THE YEAR OF DIALOGUE&TOLERANCE
At a time when we see people losing peace and harmony, the dialogue is useful and urgent to improve human relations”. These were the words of the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Lahore following the solemn declaration by the Archbishop of Lahore, Mr Sebastian Francis Shaw that 2019 will be the Year of Dialogue in Pakistan.
In a country whose official religion is Islam and where over 96% are Muslim, he said that“Christians are called to be an active part in the dialogue, to promote peace and harmony in Pakistan.”
“During the Year of Dialogue, the focus will also be on interreligious dialogue, in particular on Islamic-Christian dialogue. Priests, lay people, young people and teachers will be formed to appreciate and promote dialogue, to understand the urgency of dialogue to build peace and harmony among the faiths.”, the Archbishop announced.
Equally, the government of the United Arab Emirates has announced that 2019 is officially the Year of Tolerance to strengthen the nation’s role of encouraging stability and prosperity in the region.
The announcement came days after it was revealed Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi in February, a sign that the UAE is welcoming and tolerant of all religions.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the “world today needs universal human values to be promoted for the sake of future generations”.
Pope Francis’s visit to the UAE will be the first visit by the Pope to the Arab region.
The Papal visit will be marked with a Mass at Zayed Sports City on February 5, where more than 100,000 people are expected to attend.
Pope Francis will also visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Founder’s Memorial.