Columban Interfaith Pilgrimage Walk

Pilgrims walked to another place of worship.
Pilgrims walked to another place of worship.

Columban Interfaith Pilgrimage Walk brings understanding and respect, strengthens good Interfaith relations among religions.

On a hot and sunny day, about twenty-six mostly young people and adults gathered at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church before 10.00 a.m. on Saturday 2nd March 2024. Among them were members from Shri Sanatan, Methodist church, Arya Samaj, and the Catholic church. We visited five religious places of worship and at every station, the religious/spiritual leader prayed for Peace in the nation, Peace in Gaza, and Palestine in their own languages with the pilgrims. Our aim was to increase understanding and respect and strengthen good interfaith relations among religions. Our Interreligious Dialogue pilgrimage began here (sacred Heart Cathedral) as Fr. Donal Mcilraith explained the two major beliefs of Catholic Christians contained in the sign of the cross – Jesus Christ’s saving death on the cross and His revelation that God is trinity i.e., three in one. He also explained the significance of the altar, the baptismal font, the tabernacle, and mass is the greatest prayer we can offer.

From the catholic church we followed Holland Road and entered the Laxmi Narayan Hindu temple to hear the religious leader (Pundit) share on the religious and sacred objects/idols and cultural rituals. His son also accompanied him and was part of the sharing’s on the respect due to water, earth, and environment. A Hindu believe in many gods and in one God. Different days are dedicated to different deities. Hindus have many scriptures, but Tulsi Das’s Ramayan is the most popular one in Fiji. The statues of the gods were named, and questions of pilgrims were answered. After about half an hour we departed for the Dudley Methodist church walking along Toorak Road.

We sat inside the Methodist church while the deaconess, two Pastors and the superintendent Mr. Mohammed Lal, welcomed us and explained some of the Christian beliefs and practices too. A few questions were raised politely by the pilgrims during lent season and on the observance. The answers were some choose to give up certain food, spirit of fasting, restriction of luxury and spending on items and almsgiving.

We then proceeded to the other side of the Toorak Road and entered the Shirdi Sai temple where the religious members welcomed us. Two members from the catholic church had waited at this temple to join the bigger group and continue the journey to the final temple. A few questions were asked by the pilgrims respectfully on the statues placed inside the temple, especially Mother Mary’s and their explanation was it is a reminder to honor our own mothers like Mother Mary is honored in catholic faith (Jesus honored her). The members also shared on the teachings of Sai Baba was the best way to love God is to love all serve all. (charity work)

Our pilgrimage ended at the Hare Krishna Temple (organization) which is also part of Hindu temple in Brewster Street. The religious leader explained their belief is Krishna is eternal, all knowing and powerful and accept the process of soul (reincarnation). They worship Krishna as the supreme being, the highest form of divinity.

The pilgrimage ended at 2.30 p.m. We pilgrims were inspired by the variety of ways in which we humans seek God and God’s will for us. The pilgrims were tired from the standing and walking, but no one was hungry. We had experienced marvelous hospitality in Hare Krishna temple where we were treated to a delicious vegetarian meal. We thank all the religious leaders who welcomed, enriched, and enlightened the pilgrims at this powerful and memorable pilgrimage.

Pescila Magdalin
Columban Interreligious Dialogue Coordinator


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