Catholic archbishops all over Italy sent warm wishes for Eid Al-Fitr to the representatives of local Islamic communities to foster interreligious harmony.
In a message to the 150 Islamic communities in the Archdiocese of Milan, where nearly 50,000 Muslims live, Archbishop Mario Delpini underlined the importance of interreligious dialogue “not only to aspire to peace but in the awareness that God…(reveals) himself to us in the melting pot of difference.”
Delpini recalled many interactions in the last year between Christian and Muslim communities that helped to nurture dialogue, which the archbishop said “consists first of all in a spiritual journey.” He added: “Let us give thanks to God for this journey.”
A copy of the letter, which has been translated into Arabic, will be delivered to Muslim leaders and cultural centers by Catholic priests during Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.
On April 21, Don Giampiero Alberti, who chairs the Centro Ambrosiano di Dialogo con le Religioni, a center for religious studies and interfaith exchange, will personally deliver the archbishop’s message at Milan’s Via Padova Islamic Center. All parish priests are expected to visit the Islamic centers in their territories on the day.
Archbishop of Turin Roberto Repole appealed to Christians and Muslims alike “to persevere in fraternal dialogue between believers in God and to collaborate together.”
Recalling the Document on Human Fraternity, signed in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, 2019 by Pope Francis
and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, in his message for Eid Al-Fitr, Repole expressed hope that “all people will be able to welcome this important message of brotherhood and universal peace that God gives us.”
In Abruzzo, a region in central Italy, many local farms and factories have agreed this year to give a day off to Muslims to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr with their families. The bishop and the mayor of L’Aquila, the region’s capital city, will attend prayers in the local mosques.
In Palermo, the capital of Sicily, over 20,000 faithful are expected to join early-morning prayers on Friday at the Foro Italico, a vast open-air area facing the sea.
Prayers there will be led by Mustafa Boulaalam, imam of the mosque of Piazza Gran Cancelliere, which before 1998 was a church and was donated to the Muslim community by Palermo’s late Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo. Palermo’s Archbishop Corrado Lorefice will attend the prayers.