The Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis has assured Muslims across the globe of his prayers in the ongoing Ramadan Fast. “As a sign of our spiritual fraternity, we assure you of our prayer, and we send best wishes for a peaceful and fruitful Ramadan, and for a joyful ‘Id al-Fitr”.

The assurance was contained in a Ramadan Message issued by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue dated March 29 and was signed by the Council’s President, Miguel Ángel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ and its Secretary, Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage.

The message reads in part, “We at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue are glad to offer you our fraternal good wishes for a month rich in divine blessings and spiritual advancement. Fasting, along with prayer, almsgiving and other pious practices, brings us closer to God our Creator and to all those with whom we live and work, and helps us to continue walking together on the path of fraternity”.

The Holy Father acknowledged that Christians and Muslims are called to be bearers of hope, for the present life and for the life to come, and to be witnesses, restorers and builders of this hope, especially for those experiencing difficulties and despair.

The Pope also noted that during the long months of suffering, anguish and sorrow, especially during the lockdown periods, “we sensed our need for divine assistance, but also for expressions and gestures of fraternal solidarity: a telephone call, a message of support and comfort, a prayer, help in buying medicines or food, advice, and, to put it simply, the security of knowing that someone is always there for us in times of necessity”.

“The divine assistance that we need and seek, especially in circumstances like those of the current pandemic, is manifold: God’s mercy, pardon, providence and other spiritual and material gifts. Yet, what we need most in these times, is hope. At this time, then, we think it fitting to share with you some reflections on this virtue”, the Holy Father declared.

He however noted that has its enemies: “lack of faith in God’s love and care; loss of trust in our brothers and sisters; pessimism; despair and its opposite, unfounded presumption; unfair generalizations based on one’s own negative experiences, and so forth. These harmful thoughts, attitudes and reactions must be effectively countered, so as to strengthen hope in God and trust in all our brothers and sisters”.