The witness of Silvio Daneo
A kaleidoscope of various realities characterized this school of dialogue, in particular, on the afternoon of the second day, Silvio Daneo left for Paradise. He was an Italian focolarino, a friend and brother known to many and considered one of the founders of the Focolare Movement in Asia. The news of Silvio’s health already in critical condition at the beginning of the symposium led all the participants to place themselves before God, and at the fateful hour of his passing a few hours later, they observed a moment of silence to pray for him, and express their deep gratitude to him for the life of unity they had received.
At the conference, various interventions by speakers of different religions helped everybody learn about the various Oriental religions that provided a significant and substantial background, especially for the various concrete proposals and prototype projects already launched by some to alleviate poverty in their various environments.
A venerable Buddhist, a Cardinal and two Catholic bishops, spoke at the event, as well as an economist, a sociologist, an entrepreneur, and a philosopher. Several delegates from Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism and others completed the line-up of those who spoke and helped everyone to step into the other’s shoes. One of the most interesting aspects that struck the participants, due to its relevance today, was the presentation and the various experiences on the Economy of Communion and the social projects of the Movement like Sung Sim Dang (Korea), Prima Luce (Japan), Bangko Kabayan and Bukas Palad (Philippines).
“I saw the importance of Oriental religions today but what struck me most is that we are living the same reality of building a more united, more human, and more amiable world!” an Indonesian girl exclaimed with much enthusiasm.
“The experiences shared today certainly gave me a strong impression that we should never ask from or look at others when we are in need because each of us, in spite of everything, always has something to give. In fact, it seemed to me that Jesus himself provided me the solution to alleviate the misery of the poor when I felt Him telling me: ‘Give them something to eat yourself!’ ” said a volunteer from Pakistan.
“My parents, being Muslims, don’t allow me to participate freely in the activities of various groups. However, they have always left me free to participate in the activities of the Focolare Movement because it teaches me only to love God, and to serve and see the presence of the Divine in the others,” said a Muslim girl from the Philippines.
“I already participated in many Schools of Dialogue, and have also conducted some of these schools along with others but, in these four days, I realize that the various talks we heard, although beautiful and profound, seemed a little redundant because the things shared were already visible and active in each one of us in the hall, or at lunch or dinner and while involved in the various activities. We had a real School of Dialogue by living and engaging in dialogue with our hearts and by living together with one another,” affirmed a volunteer from Hong Kong.
“I remembered how Chiara Lubich explained, that in all religions there is a seed of the Word. I can truly say that, in these days together, this seed of the Word seems to have grown in all of us, making us One in God,” a girl from Malaysia was saying.
“I always like being accompanied by young people. When I walk, they are my arm support, since my knees are weak because of my advanced age. However here, there’s a real contest among those who want to accompany me. I cannot tell who’s Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or otherwise, because we really seemed to be just one family!” exclaimed an elderly lady from Palawan, Philippines.
“Of course, the various experiences we’ve heard today are all wonderful and rooted in God, but I was especially impressed by the presentation and experience of Amata from Korea’s Sung Sim Dang (Sacred Heart Bakery), especially when she lost her whole business due to a fire. She entered the church not to ask for a miracle while the flames were devouring her bakery, but she only told Jesus that everything passes away and He is her only Good! So I too asked myself if Jesus is really the only Good in my life and this immediately put me in the presence of God,” Bishop Roberto Mallari, Dean of SOR, shared during his homily at Mass on the third day.
Brotherhood: the solution to poverty
Indeed, to alleviate poverty in the world, as several experts in the Economy of Communion and representatives from various religions explained through their experiences, each one of us has a responsibility to act, and everyone only has to do one’s part well and put into practice one’s religious faith to resolve this.
The atmosphere of divine brotherhood that circulated among us and the experience of unity we all experienced in these days, is practically the real solution to alleviate poverty which we can bring back to our environments. It is being only a presence of love for others, forming one family together.