In light of the horrific attacks recently on Islamic communities at prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand, I’d like to mention an initiative that I have been involved in for the past three years. The Three Faiths Forum – Cork is a group drawn from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities here in Cork that meet regularly to explore how our communities can foster a greater spirit of openness, dialogue and inclusion within our society. In the ‘new’ Ireland of the 21st century, Cork has evolved into a multicultural, multiracial and multireligious society. Formed in May 2016, following the example of similar groups in other cities in the UK and in Dublin, the Forum is an initiative that brings together representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – and seeks to create a space where people of faith can dialogue open and respectfully, come to a better understanding of each other’s faith and work together to enhance tolerance, co-operation and friendship in society. The recent attacks in New Zealand and other parts of the world, as well as incidents within our own city, reinforce the urgency of working together to build a society where people of all faiths and none feel respected and valued.
One of the initiatives that the Forum has organised for the past three years is a simple Earth Day Celebration in Bishop Lucey Park, Grand Parade, Cork City. As an expression of our call to care for the earth and to cherish the gift of creation, a call that is at the heart of each of our respective faith traditions, we join millions of people in 192 countries across the world in promoting awareness of our responsibility to care for the earth and its environment. The celebration consists in a short moment of reflection and prayer followed by an invitation to enjoy some of the fruits of the earth provided by the Forum. The celebration takes place on Saturday 27th April at 2.00 p.m. in Bishop Lucey’s Park and all are welcome. Come along and show your support not only for the care of the earth but also to meet members of other faith communities in our city and to show your support for greater respect and tolerance in our world. Fr Seán