Monday, September 11, 2006

The Anniversary in DC

To mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and the centenary of the first satyagraha, Archbishops Wuerl and Sambi to participate in ecumenical Ghandian march in the capital:
The Memphis, Tennessee-based MK Gandhi Institute, which is organising the rally, will also participate in an inter-faith 'Unity Walk' on Embassy Row to mark the terror attacks.
Arun Gandhi, the Institute's founder and the Mahatma's grandson, said the rally to commemorate the September 11, 1906 non-cooperation movement was envisaged to be "a day of prayer, peace, and reconciliation against terrorism and other forms of violence worldwide."

"While for all American people, September 11, 2001, is a black day of mourning and hopelessness, it can be transformed into a day of hope and harmony," Arun Gandhi said of the reason why it was important to commemorate Gandhiji's launching of satyagraha, 100 years ago that day, as an alternate weapon to fight oppression....

Arun Gandhi will also be among several national leaders drawn from a number of faiths who will participate in the 'shoulder-to-shoulder' Unity Walk, down Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, also known as Embassy Row, to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

Marchers will include community and religious leaders from the Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Jewish, Baha'i, Buddhist, Mormon, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths.

Christians, Evangelicals, and Jews will speak and Jewish cantors will sing at Washington's largest mosque, while Muslims will speak at DC's largest synagogue. Famed Muslim singer Salman Ahmad will perform at the Washington Hebrew Congregation.

The event, which also features Sister Sledge singing the anthemic We are Family at the Washington National Cathedral, will end at the Gandhi Memorial Statue, opposite the Indian embassy.
The archbishop has also published his reflections in the DC Catholic Standard; the then-bishop of Pittsburgh was in Washington on the day of the attacks:
Among the most vivid scenes that I recall was the cavernous Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception filled with people, including hundreds and hundreds of college students from The Catholic University of America. There was a sense of disbelief, or perhaps bewilderment, that this could happen in our country. We could sense a palpable level of anxiety. Overhead flew United States Air Force interceptor jets. Most of all, there was the realization that we needed to be together and in prayer.

In the next days and weeks, people gathered in prayer, faith and solidarity. At the same time, we also heard much about what was to be done as government officials and commentators in the media spoke about the origins of these attacks and the violent acts against innocent life. So much of the discussion focused on who was responsible and where they might be found. As the years have passed, greater clarity has certainly emerged concerning the destruction on 9/11 and those behind it.

Perhaps as we reflect five years later on that terrible day and all that it has come to symbolize, we find ourselves in a better position as well to place those events in the context of the great human struggle in which we are all caught up and that brings us face to face with the challenge of good against evil.

The cosmic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness, between peace and war, between violence and harmony, between hatred and love begins first in each human heart. It is waged there, and on its outcome depends true peace.

The beatitudes draw the demanding picture that Jesus set before us of a world of peacemakers and those who hunger and thirst for holiness, justice, mercy, compassion and consolation. To the extent that each one of us participates in that effort, there is more light, peace, harmony and love in the world. Our capacity to change the world is not as limited as we might think. While we may not be invited to summits, conferences and gatherings where many great political decisions are made, we are still part of the human family, and our voice in prayer is certainly heard by God.

Beyond our capacity to pray is our capacity to love and treat one another with respect, decency and justice. In this way, small but significant steps may be taken toward true and lasting peace. Perhaps if enough such steps were taken by enough people, the darkness could be just that much less powerful. The Christopher movement's well-known motto, "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness," comes so readily to mind. But so does Pope Paul VI's prophetic proclamation, "If you want peace, work for justice." The Catholic vision of peace and of the new creation reminds us that we are to be strengthened with power through Christ's Spirit so that Christ would dwell in our hearts (cf. Eph 3:17).