What is Bari 2020’s message?

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What is Bari 2020’s message?

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

After the elapse of ten years since the convening of the Synod of the Catholic Church for the Middle East in 2010, Pope Francis recently participated in the Bari2020 Mediterranean meeting. Bari is the city that became the capital of Christian unity, as stated in His Holiness Pope’s address.

What is the message that Pope Francis wanted to convey?

It is a message of encouragement and solidarity with the Christians and with the peoples who live in the Middle East because it is a region plagued with "preposterous" conflicts where homes, factories and hospitals are demolished, as well humans are killed, forcibly displaced, and sometimes die away from their homelands and families. The initiative launched by the Council of Bishops of Italy, which was concomitant with the immediate approval of the Pope, confirms the mission of the Mediterranean region and its request to present a testimony of unity and peace.

It is a message that transmits grace and hope to the peoples of the region so as to complement its procession by "extending faith" to generations, raising its children, and mapping out a better future for them through hard work dedicated to making peace, as well as to establishing justice and solidarity.

It is a message to raise voices demanding the attainment of rights and religious freedoms for all societies. It is a message against extremism and fundamentalism that denies human dignity and religious freedom. Consequently, it is an invitation to embark on the path of dialogue marked with respect, good will, mutual acquaintance, human fraternity, and common living among the various components of this region.

It is a message designed to dispel fear. There is a God who guides the universe, and directs us to pure fountains of security and stability.

It is an invitation for the attainment of Christian unity and lasting cooperation. Last year, the meeting in Bari included various Churches. This year the Italian bishops, who organized the meeting, wanted to say that the Christian communion of the Catholic Churches is necessary for continuing the initiatives of human solidarity with the forcibly displaced and the vulnerable. This also gives the pure image of Christians being warm and united to the entire world as the Lord always wants them to be.

In short, the Bari2020 message is a strong and clear message that also calls for the solidarity of the international community and the solidarity of the world Churches with the Christians of this region because, as their number drops, they still carry their Cross, and they are still witnesses to the rising Christ in their societies.

abouna.org@gmail.com

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