05/21/2007, 00.00
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Zamboanga remembers Father Carzedda, martyr for dialogue

by Sebastiano D'Ambra
Fifteen years since the murder of the PIME missionary in the Philippines, a meeting celebrates his will for dialogue and peace, spur for a new mission.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr Salvatore Carzedda, a missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who was killed by unknown gunmen on May 20, 1992, the director of the Silsilah Dialogue Center and Fr Carzedda’s fellow Brother in Christ, Fr Sebastiano D’Ambra, met religious sisters in Zamboanga City to take stock of the ongoing Islamic-Christian dialogue.

Before the meeting, Silsilah members, both Christians and Muslims, accompanied by friends and relatives of the slain missionary visited the place where he was killed.

They met later at one of the new houses of spirituality opened by the Emmaus Community in the province.

Here are some excerpts from the address Father D’Ambra delivered for the occasion, titled “Prophetic Utterance of Dialogue.”

“With joy I welcome you, the religious sisters of Zamboanga City, to this new house of spirituality on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr. Salvatore Carzedda [. . .].”

“We know that today the topic of ‘Dialogue’ is becoming one of the priorities not only in the Church but also among secular and government institutions. The basic reason for this interest by society is pragmatic; this is an attempt to overcome the violence in the world that so often has cultural and religious implications.”

[. . .] “We Christians are called to move by a “prophetic spirit” that goes beyond problems, fear and any human barriers of ‘encounter,’ to find inside and outside us a new space of dialogue that is based on God’s dialogue with and God’s presence in humanity.”

[. . .]

“The word “dialogue” is quite new in the Church and, in general, in society. There is an important encyclical of Pope Paul VI (1964) entitled ‘Ecclesiam Suam’ with a special focus on “dialogue” with the world, with people of different religions, with Christian communities and inside the Church. [. . .] There are different levels of dialogue and here we try to go to the deeper level that is a prophetic dialogue based on spirituality. [. . .] I will present it with concrete experiences of the past and the present as a good base to envision the future prophetic utterance of dialogue.”

[. . .] “This year we celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Fr. Salvatore Carzedda’s death. For many of us he is a martyr for dialogue and peace. I have written a lot about him and I always talk about him as if it were the first time. I recall the many years we spent together, the common desire to promote dialogue and peace through Silsilah, the common frustration in facing some difficulties and misunderstanding, but also I remember his desire to move on, to learn, to try all possible ways. He was looking at me as a mentor of dialogue and friend; but from the night of May 20, 1992, when he was killed in Zamboanga City, I think of him as a ‘special mentor’, a prophet of dialogue who continues to inspire me and many in Italy and in the Philippines.”

“He was a man full of life and energy, able to talk for many hours with friends and during meetings, but what remains more vibrant in my heart is his silence. He is silent now, but I consider it an ‘eloquent silence’ that cannot but leave us peaceful. The word ‘padayon’ (move on), so familiar to him and in Silsilah, becomes a prophetic utterance of dialogue that gives us courage and strength.”

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