Iftar at Cathedral House

Iftar Dinner

Members of Religions for Peace NSW attended the annual tradition the Archbishop of Sydney. Cardinal Pell hosted an Iftar Dinner at Cathedral House for more than 70 guests representing 15 different denominations and faiths.

Iftar refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan and is a religious observance often shared within a community with families, friends and neighbours gathering around the table to break their fast together.

Hosted by His Eminence and held for the first time last year, the Iftar Dinner at the Cathedral is a positive sign not only of Sydney’s vibrant multi-culturalism but also of a city that celebrates and respects other faith traditions.

Grand Mufti and spiritual leader of Australia’s Muslims, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed was one of the many dignitaries and important religious leaders who were guests. Others included leaders of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism together with leaders from Australia’s Eastern Rite churches as well as representatives from a range of Christian denominations such as the Uniting Church, the Lutheran Church and the World Council of Churches. Convenor of Religions for Peace NSW, Josie Lacey, was also in attendance.

Iftar meal attendees

More than 14 different denominations and faith traditions were represented at the Archdiocese of Sydney’s annual Iftar dinner

Cardinal Pell addressed the gathering and began with a reading of Pope Francis’s recent personal message to Muslims throughout the world who were celebrating the end of Ramadan this week.

“I am aware that family and social dimensions enjoy a particular prominence for Muslims during this period and it is worth noting that there are certain parallels in each of these areas with the Christian faith and practice,” Pope Francis said and went on to underline the importance of education in the way Muslims and Christians understand each other and build on the foundation of mutual respect.

“Respect means an attitude of kindness towards people for whom we have consideration and esteem. Mutual means that his is not a one-way process but something shared by both sides,” the Holy Father said and went on to explain that what Christians, Muslims and those of all faiths are called on to respect in each person is first of all his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights arriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas, and his political choices.

“We are therefore called to think, speak and write respectfully of the other, not only in his presence but always and everywhere avoiding unfair criticism or defamation. Families, schools religious teaching and all forms of media have a role to play in achieving this goal.”

RfPA NSW Meeting

Meeting of RfP at Parliament House with Retiring CRC president Stephan Kerkysharian