This January, Prefect Maurizio Falco and Deputy Mayor Elena Baio of the Italian city of Piacenza received representatives from the main religions in the area, including ISKCON devotees Raghunath Das (Renato Dacarro) and Pritha Dasi (Paola Rossi).
Among the other faith representatives were Archbishop Pierluigi Dallavalle, delegate for Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue; Pastor Nicola Tedoldi of the Methodist Evangelical Church; Father Kliment Mishanj of the Macedonian Orthodox Church; and Yassine Baradai, Director of the Islamic Community Center of Piacenza with Imam Yassin Thabit. Another invitee, Prem Pal Uncleyi of the Sikh community, was unable to attend.
The religious representatives had requested the meeting in order to express their good wishes for the New Year to the leaders of Piacenza.
“The appointment allowed us all to reaffirm our desire to continue working together, with a view to improving interreligious and interinstitutional dialogue,” says Raghunath Das.
During the meeting, Archbishop Dallavalle and the other representatives outlined common initiatives they intend to launch within the next few months, in order to promote the spirit of brotherhood that unites the various religious communities in the Piacenza area.
Afterwards, Prefect Falco thanked everyone for their thoughtfulness and confirmed his full availability for any future initiatives, ensuring the Prefecture’s active participation.
“For our small Piacenza Hare Krishna community, consisting of my wife and I and a few devotee friends, this is a great result,” Raghunath says. “We have been cultivating dialogue and interaction with other faiths and institutions for the past decade. I think that a gentle and not too invasive presence can be effective enough to present our movement, especially in small provinces where people are more suspicious or conservative. The best peaching is often to inspire trust and serenity in people’s hearts, before wanting to make them devotees.”
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Archbishop Eric Escala, Continuing Anglican Church
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Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium