A TIO Report
An Interfaith Pilgrimage Of Jerusalem
Elijah Interfaith Institute News, February 2012
2011 concluded with an inspiring conference in Jerusalem. The conference, on the above theme, was organized by Elijah in partnership with the Swiss based Lasallhaus. The occasion was unique. Fr. Christian Rutishauser S.J., director of LH had a dream for twenty years - organizing a pilgrimage on foot to Jerusalem. The pilgrimage was to be more than just a walk; it was to be a an opportunity for learning, and above all for interfaith sharing. A priest, a pilgrim, but also an academic, he envisioned the walk culminating with a peace conference, which he asked Elijah to organize.
Recognizing the uniqueness of the occasion, a concept was formulated, that was suitable to this particular occasion: Pilgrimage to Jerusalem as Pilgrimage of Peace. The conference sought to explore in what way pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which for so long had been undertaken by members of our religions within the exclusive frame of reference of their own religion, can be practiced today with broader interfaith awareness, thereby serving as a pilgrimage of peace.
This conference was unique because it was grounded in the activities and hardships of people who had laid the foundations for the conference for months. The story of the pilgrimage was received with great enthusiasm by the Israeli press (article in the Jerusalem Post; article in Haaretz)
A highlight of the event was learning about the journey of the 4 pilgrims, 2 men and 2 women, led by Rev. Dr. Christian Rutishauser, who endured physical difficulty but encountered human kindness and much natural beauty on their way. Hundreds of people accompanied them on various legs of their journey and 42 came into Jerusalem from Amman with them. For Christians, the journey to the place of pilgrimage is as important as the place itself. The Conference represented the end of the physical journey but the beginning of reflection on the meaning of what they had accomplished – and, in that sense, it was an inner pilgrimage for all who attended. [READ MORE…]