Through their prayers, people of various religions can work together for peace, Pope Francis has said to an interreligious prayer meeting in Japan.
Prayer “inspires and sustains our efforts for peace, because it helps to deepen our reciprocal respect for each other as persons, strengthens the bonds of love between us, and spurs us to make decisive efforts towards promoting just relations and fraternal solidarity,” the Pope said in a letter to the 30th Prayer Meeting on Mount Hiei in Kyoto.
The meeting was launched in 1987 by Etai Yamada, Supreme Head of the Tendai Buddhist denomination. The effort aimed to advance the Day of Prayer for Peace held under St. John Paul II in Assisi, Italy on Oct. 27, 1986.
Pope Francis praised the prayer meeting, saying it “contributes in a special way to the building up of that spirit of dialogue and friendship which allows the followers of the world’s religions to work together to open new paths for peace in our human family.”
The Roman Pontiff sent “cordial greetings” to Koei Morikawa, the 257th Supreme Priest of the Tendai Buddhist denomination, and representatives of other religious traditions at the meeting.
Pope Francis and Morikawa had met privately at the Vatican in September 2016. Tendai Buddhism was founded in Japan about 1,200 years ago.
Cardinal John Tong Hon, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, delivered the Pope’s letter and read it to participants.
The annual prayer meeting will close Aug. 6, the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.