On 2 June, a Catholic delegation (Bishop Paul Hendricks, Canon John O’Toole, and Ms Katharina Smith-Müller – Interreligious Adviser to the bishops of England and Wales) helped out at Finsbury Park Mosque’s ‘Meal for All’ – a project for the homeless.
It is run in partnership with community and faith organisations, such as The Passage, Westminster Caritas and the SVP, amongst others. Christian and Muslim volunteers work together every Thursday evening at the Mosque to feed the hungry. During the Year of Mercy, the visit highlights that works of mercy are often carried out in cooperation with people of different faiths.
Bishop Paul Hendricks commented: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to highlight the excellent work being done here, by members of the Muslim and Christian communities, working together for the good of those in need. Whether they realise it or not, people are influenced in their idea of God, by what they see in the lives of believers. They can come to understand the mercy of God, which is often said to be His greatest attribute, if they see that we are showing mercy and kindness to the poor and the needy and if we are seen to be at peace and working in harmony with each other. I wish every blessing on all who give their time and talents to this inspiring project.”
Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, added: “It is a pleasure to have Bishop Paul at Finsbury Park Mosque. While we welcome our guests today, we believe that such a visit between faith leaders will strength the relation between the two largest religions in the world and will promote community cohesion and peace, and it will also send a strong but positive message to the public that we can and should work together for the sake of humanity.”
In their teaching document on interreligious dialogue, “Meeting God in Friend and Stranger”, the bishops of England and Wales commend shared action, or “work[ing] together for the greater recognition of the dignity and unity of all human beings”. The work done at “Meal for All”, with volunteers working side by side to support the most vulnerable, also goes some way towards fulfilling Pope Francis’ hope “that all Christians and Muslims will work to promote mutual respect.”
Papal Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 11 August 2013