It was the first gathering of such kind in the history of the world: a meeting of all religions to pray for peace in the city of Saint Francis. It was the most original and courageous initiative of Saint John Paul II, a milestone in the way of dialogue which has been defined: the true cultural revolution.
Category: Special Moments
The 9/11/2001 attack on the Manhattan Twin Towers was unexpected, highly successful and shocking. It had a symbolic meaning and it marked the insurgence of Islamic terrorism which has affected the entire world.
Graced by the exceptional charisma of Mahatma Gandhi, the champion of nonviolent resistance, the Indian people were the first to reach their own independence. The “wind of change” soon provoked a worldwide domino effect that marked the end of an era.
In 1986, the uprising of a people united by their faith against an encroached dictator drew the admiration of the whole world. More than thirty years later, the disappointment of the people for the failed promises of social justice gave way to the return of the same dictator as a national hero.
The largest gathering of the Catholic faithful took place on the occasion of the last farewell to Pope John Paul II. The peaceful and devout behavior of the immense crowd of mourners bespeaks of the holiness of the deceased as well as the universal outreach of the Church.
Since Saint Peter left Palestine for Rome, no pope had visited the land of Jesus. Popes had dispatched envoys, emissaries and even Crusader armies to it, but it was only Paul VI who decided, 1,900 years later, to go back to the Holy Land as a symbolic return to the origin of Christianity.
Pope Francis visited the tiny island of Lampedusa in 2013 to honor the immigrants who died at sea. The Pontiff’s visit made headlines around the world for bringing up the issue of immigration in a completely different light: from viewing immigration as a problem to understanding the plight of the immigrants.
The year 1989 saw the sudden collapse of communism, symbolized by the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. As the strongest point of the “Iron Curtain,” it had become the symbol of the suppression of freedom. Its quiet demise was received by the world with a sigh of relief.
It was the first political Asian-African conference of newly-independent countries for the purpose of escaping the polarization between U.S.A. and communist Russia. In reality, it became the sign of the awakening of the colored peoples in the world scene. Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio prophetically interpreted the demands of this awakening.