In the footprints of Francis and Clare, we are all called to walk the path of peace as pilgrims, to pray and fast for justice in our world, and to dialogue with one another in an effort to discover creative ways to build peace in our own day.
The original celebration of 1986 captured the imagination of the world because it brought together religious leaders from so many different traditions in an atmosphere of dialogue, prayer and the search for peace. Participants were invited to come to the place where Francis had spent much of his life in loving communion with God. Like Francis, they were invited to pray fervently for peace, to enter into a spirit of silence, fasting and pilgrimage, those practices which accompany sincere prayer. Prayer allowed Francis to stand in truth before God; he was led to interior purification, to greater understanding and respect for others.
The Spirit of Assisi reminds us that, just as for Francis and Clare, prayer is an essential element in the search for peace. But also like the two saints of Assisi, prayer should lead us to dedicate ourselves to the search for peace in concrete and effective ways.
The Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Holy Spirit participate in remembering the "Spirit of Assisi" each year. This is through prayer and events. We encourage you to prayer in your own way, in your home, that our world will be a place of peace and harmony, hope and reconciliation, justice and respect.
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace (2011)
A unique event of fine music and interfaith prayer was held at Pitt Street Uniting Church on Saturday 29 October.
Our special guests included Rev Dr Stephanie Dowrick (MC), Jane Rutter (Flute Queen), Dr Kim Cunio and Heather Lee (leaders in sacred music), Christopher Perrin (trumpet), Jassen Rose (organ) and Lanneke Wallace-Wells (music director).
The combined choir performed pieces such as Song for Athene, The Lord is My Shepherd, Sanctus and A Clare Benediction. An audience of approximately 300 people was treated to a special performance of Blackbird (Lennon/McCartney) by Jane Rutter and her son Bertie. St Clare’s College Waverley and Di Canto also performed special pieces that highlighted the significance of St Francis today and our relationship with those in need, particularly refugees and asylum seekers.
Prayers for peace were led by leaders from the Sabian Madaean, Catholic, Uniting, Jewish, Buddhist and Baha’i traditions.
All proceeds from this concert were directed to The House of Welcome, a service for refugees and asylum seekers.
View the Concert flyer and Concert photos
Padua College in Queensland hosted students from the local Islamic school. Report.
Our remembrance of the “Spirit of Assisi” happened on a warm and sunny afternoon in late October. About 150 people gathered in the Chapter House of St Paul’s (Anglican) Cathedral to the sounds of a Celtic harp and a Sitar. People from many faith traditions came to celebrate this event. It was an important local gathering and an important global remembrance, particularly given the number of flashpoints currently taxing the minds and efforts of those who seek peace.
Under our shared point of reflection—“pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”—we gathered to pray as one but from our many different places of faith: Baha’I, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian. Like those before her, our Sikh reader uttered a plaintiff cry we all came to ponder and express: “The world is suffering, O Lord. We pray for Your compassion and benevolence to save all who come to you” (Ranjit Kaur).
This theme of personal conversion, of a change of heart towards others, was never more potent in our Christocentric minds then while listening to Bishop Mark Burton, bishop of the Cathedral where we were praying, as he read in lyrical tones the beatitudes in Greek.
Professor Desmond Cahill of RMIT then challenged us with an understanding of Francis as crossing the hostile and defensive barriers imposed by both Christians and Muslims in order to engage the other in conversation and with prayer.
There could be no better a way to complete our moment of communion, prayer and conversation than to share food and drink, which came to us from the Hindu community!
In a world where peace is so fragile and efforts at finding peace are often swamped by bitterness and turmoil, remembering the Spirit of Assisi is an important task. Each year we remember our war-dead, and solemnly proclaim Lest We Forget! We must do the same each year at this time for peace; so that peace does not die in our hearts and in our actions, or in our prayer. David Leary OFM
Malbourne event flyer
Bernie Thomas OFM assisted in the planning of the Spirit of Assisi service in Auckland Cathedral. Hosted by Bishop Pat Dunn, there were ten denominations represented and approximately 150 people in the congregation. The “Decalogue of Peace” was used as the main focus for the evening. Each religious denomination which included a Buddhist monk, a Muslim Iman, and a member of parliament, was invited to read one of the statements from the Decalogue and then to respond to it with their own style of prayer or reflection.
A member of the congregation was invited to give to each religious representative a native seedling which they were invited to plant somewhere as a symbol of our desire for peace and unity. The evening finished with supper.
On Oct 27th 2011, the Custody of St. Anthony celebrated the Spirit of Assisi at the Home of the Franciscan Friars in the Piazza where it was attended by 300 people. The event was graced by the President of the Republic of Singapore, His Excellency Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, His Grace the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Singapore and the Religious Leaders of the IRO (Inter-Religious Organisation).
The gathering began with a Halal Vegetarian Dinner. The Custos gave an opening address followed by an address by the Apostolic Nuncio who spoke about the significance of the celebration. Ten inter-religious leaders prayed in their respective faiths for Peace and lit candles in the Garden of Peace. A pre-recorded video by Friar Matthew Beckmann outlined the history of the Spirit of Assisi. The St. Joseph’s Institution Choir sang and a drama company “Walk on Water Productions” also inspired the people with Douglas Wood’s “Old Turtle and the Broken Truth”.
The event was concluded with a simple gesture of a sign of Peace with one another. Michael D’Cruz OFM
View the SoA bulletin from the Province of the Holy Spirit here
The letter of invitation from the leaders of the worldwide Franciscan family.
Background information, prayer services, mass suggestions from the Conference of the Franciscan Family.
The Assisi Decalogue of commitments made by the religious leaders present in 1986.