For many years we had the traditional Unification Blessing Ceremony in São Paulo without the presence of other religious leaders. This time I made up my mind to invite the participation of religious leaders representing other Faiths´traditions, to make it inter-religious as it is done on the world level in Seoul or Washington.
We developped gradually contacts from other religions by consistently attending inter-religious meetings and events. I made the list of the main religions with the potential guests. I made an Invitation letter that I sent by e-mail to my Religious Contacts Address Book. I called, made appointments, I visited twice the Synagogue, I met the two main Rabbis leaders of the São Paulo Israelite Congregation. I visited one Orthodox priest and one Catholic priest, but our event will be on sunday and it is the most busy day for them.
I took the opportunity to approach some religious guests on the 9th of july, when we had a public event, in our Unification HQ Temple to celebrate the 40th anniversary, date of the first coming Father Moon in Brazil, where he blessed a spot of land, known as "Holy Ground", in one park, near downtown in Rio de Janeiro.
Two of them agreed to come, they are, starting from the left on the picture (see the next posts), Rev. Pedro Pastor of the Assembly of God, Evangelical Pentecostal Church, he was himself a participant of the ceremony as a couple with his wife, he has known our movement since a few years. He was the last to speak, he shared some words and quoted the Bible and led the assembly with the Lord´s Prayer.
Next, is Master Varela, President of the Umbandist Temple, from the Afro-Brazilian Spiritualist tradition, he himself invited two couples from his group and one guest to participate at the Cerimony. He has known also our movement since a few years and also visited his temple before. He led the assembly to repeat a few sentences of Blessing Prayers until the crowd could repeat loud and clear.
Next, is Father Paulo Celso, a Dominican Catholic Priest, he lost his position in the Church after he married more than 20 years ago. He traveled with the Latin America Pilgrimage Tour of Israel Holy Land, last year, we have known each other more than one year, at the Inter-religious group, which is part of the Council for the Culture of Peace of the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo and also attended the Sunday Mass at his church. During the ceremony he was moved to tears, even though he said he did not have so much time, he stayed until the end. He spoke vigorously and loud for the importance of the family.
Next, is Mr Daniel Calmonowitz, lecturer at the Peace Darma Center, representant of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I met him through the inter-religious group, and visited his Temple when the Buddha´s sacred relics were exposed last year. He offered three Buddist Blessing prayer songs. At the end he told me that he was very grateful and impressed of our work.
The last, at the microphone, is Mr Moumtez Hachem, Director of the Center of the Divulgation of Islam for the Latin America, I just met him briefly, once last month when I participated at one meeting at the building of the Secretary of the of Justice and Protection of the Citizen of the Government of the State of São Paulo, where about 70 religious leaders, mostly from the Afro-Brazilian traditions or minority religions, gathered to report the persecution from some Evangelical Pentecost members. I had the chance to talk to him just before the meeting started and invited right away, and called him several time until the last evening before the event . Thanks to the help of Mohammed, he came, he is a very devoted believer of Islam. During the Holy wine ceremony, he withdrew from the Temple, he cannot tolerate to see others drinking wine, this is against the belief of his religion, he waited outside, then came back, he had to wait patiently for his turn to go on the stage, because all religious leaders were scheduled to pray after the four wedding vows, just before the officiator conclude with the final Blessing prayer.
Somehow, the Evangelical Pastor came up on the stage last and stood next to the Umbandist Priest for the prayer; then we invited them for lunch after the ceremony, Pastor Pedro went to sit at the opposite end of the table, far from the Mr Varela (Narrow minded Evangelical Christians believe that the Umbanda groups are from the Devil) . I suggested to them to sit together next time for inter-religious dialogue meeting and they both agree and accepted to learn more from each other religious tradition, others did not have time to stay for lunch.
Thanks to the participation of the religious leaders, the Blessing Ceremony became opened to the broad diversity ot Spiritual Traditions. We felt higher spiritual atmosphere, the Blessing became more rich, valuable and complete, the participants were blessed successively by the Holy Words and prayers, the assembly was happy and responded with warm aplause.
I would like to thank God, Father and Mrs Moon and my beloved wife Hiroko that help me to offer this report and gave me the inspiration to promote world peace through inter-religious harmony and family values.