Recently, my good friend from Israel, Mr Pierre Lavi, published an article in WSI Magazine – A Visit to the Western Wall Tunnels – about the wishes of his esteemed guests from Angola to walk down one of the world's most famous streets, Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. Mr Lavi's guests, the Angolan ambassador in Jerusalem and his wife, wanted to walk the same streets as Jesus Christ, just before he was crucified. Considering that I too had the privelege to stay in the holy city of Jerusalem, I am well aware of the feelings of humility and need for faith, mixed with sadness, hapiness, excitement and inspiration which has impacted all practicing Christians.
However, when today's world faces global challenges such as unemployment, environmental protection, stabilising hostile areas caught up in war, and dealing with terrorism and its consequences, it seems to be that much harder to find answers to many questions posed. Hence we need to ask which values can we depend on? Can faith help us solve the challenges we are faced with today? Can God help us be wiser and rational in our decision making? So that we not endanger eachother, but encourage eachother to create a better, more humane and just world in which we live.
During Pentecost, the leader of the Croatian Church, Archbishop Josip Bozanic, making, in his words, the Parish of the Holy Trinity in Sveta Nedelja the cathedral of the Archdiosese of Zagreb on that day. The Parish of the Holy Trinity in Sveta Nedelja (Sveta Nedelja transl: Holy Sunday, Santa Domenica) may appear as a small parish with approximately 9000 parishoners, but within its modest framework, this spiritual community has a big responsibility, first of which is to live and promote the values we have gained through our faith in God. Pentecost celebrates the descent of the Holy Ghost among the apostles in Jerusalem, fifty days after Christ's resurection, and is the third most important holy day in Christianity. The Archbishop's visit to this parish was not only a happy occassion for the day's 72 confirmands, but for the whole congregation as well.
Holy Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost and the celebration of Holy Confirmation led by cardinal Bozanić, msgr. Alojzije Petrović, dean of Sveta Nedelja Božidar Cindori, the priest of the Parish of the Holy Trinity Marijan Kušenić and Fr Vjekoslav Pavlović.
Archbishop Bozanic noted that love is what connects us all, and is the foundation for faith and peace. Today the world lacks love and humility, which Pope Francis himself often warns about. And it is here that I would highight the Archbishop's message that it is difficult for even smaller communities to function without love. The question that remains then is if basic values and just relationships lack among individuals, how does this affect the quality functioning of businesses, corporations, nations, or any other organisational systems?
Every (global) crisis is a crisis of consciousness and spirit. Archbishop Boznic, in his address, repeated the message: let's change, because if we want to change this world and the relationships between people, nations and religions, each one of us has to take that step toward forgiveness, which is the basis for solving any conflict.
The aim of this visit was prayer, especially within families. Archbishop Bozanic noted that prayers are powerful and necessary in changing our selves, and in so doing, the world within which we live. Today's conflicting world begs for help, love and mercy. Interfaith dialogue is an important component in establishing lasting peace. Calm, quiet, shy, a man of books and knowledge, but with an incredibly powerful spirit, Archbishop Bozanic, in his visit to a small town called Sveta Nedelja, brought with him a message of love, faith and peace; this is the message I wanted to share with you, WSI readers, hoping that our collective world can truly become a better place to live for us all.
God bless you all.