O bells of Sarajevo, do ring

O bells of Sarajevo, do ring

By Fr. Rif'at Bader

Among the issues highlighted by the international media outlets with regards to Pope Francis’ visit to Sarajevo last week is the ringing of large bells.

The first bell was a genuine one made especially for St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), to whom the Pope is affiliated. The bell weighs 320 kilogarmmes with a radius of 840mm and a resounding tintinnabulation. It was placed at the entrance of Kosovo Stadium to welcome the Pope’s motorcade at the start of the massive Mass which was attended by more than 60,000 people. Two priests took turns in ringing the bell whose tintinnabulation was in harmony with the music and voices of the singers who were estimated at more than 1,500 people. Their first hymn was “Mir Vama” which means “Peace be upon you". It was recognized as a symbol of the Pope's one-day visit which is reminiscent of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Sarajevo in April 1997.

The second and stronger bell was the voice of the Pope himself who stood before the generations of the Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country which witnessed the scourge of a grinding war among its unruly brethren, and which still remembers the start of the First World War in 1914 whose centennial was marked by the world with sorrow and tears in the hope that “it will continue to be remembered and never to recur”.

Pope Francis addressed a new generation of youths who cropped up from the dust of wars and battles. He said to all these generations: "You ought not go back to join the killing and destruction camps. Be always builders of bridges of communication rather than walls of repulsion." He reiterated as his predecessors did: "What this country and the whole world wish is no more wars in the future."

He warned against resorting to hypocrisy in dealing with peace that needs not theories or axioms but rather sincere, honest and assiduous effort. He warned politicians not to fall into the trap of hypocrisy, since it is not acceptable to call for peace and love at a time when you fight your wars with weapons from under the tables.

The Pope did not miss touching on the importance of interfaith dialogue considering its importance in bringing about peace and in entrenching social harmony. He said--during his meeting with representatives of religions, namely Judaism Christianity and Islam, as well as with heads of churches, particularly the Orthodox and Catholic churches—that inter-religious dialogue, before being a discussion of the main themes of faith, is a conversation about human existence. Through this dialogue, the daily life is tangibly shared, responsibilities are shared too, and plans for a better future are set up for all.

In the Bosnian capital, which the Pope compared to the city of Jerusalem owing to the diversity of religions among its inhabitants and its message of coexistence, he said: "We learn to live together, to get to know each other, to accept each other despite differences, and to freely accept others as they are.''

Through dialogue, people get acquainted with one another, develop a spiritual partnership that unites and expedites the promotion of moral values, justice, freedom and peace. Dialogue is a school of humanity and a builder of unity, which helps build a society founded on tolerance and mutual respect."

O bells of Sarajevo, do ring. Voice what your country wishes and what quenches the thirst of the Orient: No more wars, No more wars.


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