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Interfaith Peacebuilding

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Interfaith Programs

Montreal Interfaith Forum: The Power of Forgiveness in Montreal

Montreal, Canada - The first UPF-Montreal meeting of 2012 was held on January 11 at Hotel Ruby Foos and featured a presentation on the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a North American peacemaking pioneer. The extremely cold weather did not dissuade the 30 participants from attending!

With the help of a photographic presentation that explored the life of one of the most important figures of the 20th century, Franco Famularo, Secretary General of UPF-Canada, shared his impressions of Dr. King's thought and actions with an emphasis on the power of forgiveness.

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Ambassadors for Peace then took turns reading quotations from Dr. King and from his mentors, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus of Nazareth. Words of other noted peacemakers, such as Nelson Mandela and a poem by the founder of UPF, "Crown of Glory," were also read.

The multi-religious group of clergy and laymen were then treated to an awe-inspiring presentation by a peace emissary, Mr. Mynor Ayala, who uses artwork to build intercultural bridges in North Africa.

Originally from Guatemala, Mr. Ayala was tortured and finally left for dead by his tormentors in Central America. He explained that after he had taken refuge in Canada, he by chance came face to face with his family's persecutors and those who had executed his wife. He shared about his encounter with God and how he personally experienced the power of forgiveness and love in such very difficult circumstances.


In the spirit of the theme of the day's gathering, which focused on  Dr. King's teaching on forgiveness, Mr. Ayala explained how he overcame the intense feelings of resentment toward his tormentors. He provides a living example of how a life of faith can eventually lead to the path of forgiveness. He has developed activities in North Africa, a primarily Muslim region of the world, where he uses his artistic skills to promote peaceful understanding beyond barriers religion and culture.

 

The audience lingered for quite some time after the formal conclusion of the meeting to share in fellowship with one another.

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