PIME’s Fr Sebastiano D’Ambra receives the Fr Andrea Santoro Award
Beginning this year, the award is given to those who distinguish themselves in the world for their commitment to proclaiming the Gospel, dialogue and human promotion. It celebrates the memory of the missionary killed in Turkey in 2006. The PIME priest, in the Philippines for the past 40 years, is involved in Islamic-Christian dialogue with the Silsilah movement.
Rome (AsiaNews) – The Missionary Centre of the Diocese of Rome has decided to give the Fr Andrea Santoro Award to Fr Sebastiano D’Ambra, a priest with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), in the Philippines for over 40 years.
The diocesan body established the prize in memory of the fidei donum missionary of the Diocese of Rome, killed in Trabzon (Turkey) on 5 February 2006, a great witness to Islamic-Christian dialogue.
Starting this year, the award is given to those in the world who distinguish themselves for their commitment to proclaiming the Gospel ad Gentes, interfaith dialogue and human promotion.
The award ceremony is set for 26 October, on the occasion of the celebrations for the extraordinary missionary month.
Fr Andrea Santoro died whilst praying in Trabzon’s St Mary Church, where he was serving as parish priest. A Turkish court sentenced his murderer, Oğuzhan Akdin, to 18 years and 10 months in prison.
Arrested a few hours after the crime with the murder weapon still in his possession, the 16-year-old high school student said his act was a response to the publication of the Mohammed cartoons by the Danish newspaper Yyllands-Posten, which were reprinted in other European newspapers. However, the case still leaves many questions unanswered.
Fr D’Ambra is based in Mindanao, an island in the southern Philippines. Thirty-five years ago he founded the Silsilah movement (chain, bond in Arabic) in Zamboanga City.
The group is a well-known for raising cultural awareness, training and sharing, with the goal of bringing Christians and Muslims together.
The PIME priest has collaborated with AsiaNews for a long time, and is the current executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).