Austria: Interreligious Breakfast
By Maria Pammer, UPF Austria
On Saturday 14th October 2017 the 4th Interreligious Breakfast of this year took place in Linz/Upper Austria, organized by the Upper Austrian branches of the Universal Peace Federation and the Family Federation for World Peace.
The theme of the meeting this time was “You shall be a blessing”. Representatives of Catholicism, Islam and FFWPU shared impulses on the topic.
After everyone had helped themselves to the breakfast buffet, Mr. Heinz Krcek began with his talk. As former Benedictine Father and theologian, drawing on his vast experience, he delivered a nuanced contribution to the topic of blessing. He began with the three blessings that God gave to mankind in Gen. 1:28, expressing both the grace and the task they entailed. His remarks spanned from the birthright blessing that Jacob bought from his brother Esau to the marriage blessing conducted by the FFWPU.
The Catholic woman bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger explained the blessing effect of the Psalms in the Old Testament. She then also referred to the fairy tale of “Sleeping Beauty” which illustrates that both a blessing and its opposite, a curse, can have great consequences. Good thoughts and words can spread like a cloud. She concluded her contribution with an Irish Blessing.
Mr. Yunus Mayrhofer, representative of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, emphasized that one cannot own a blessing, and therefore also cannot keep hold of it. The blessing is only a blessing when it is passed on. In his youth, he had experienced the Christian culture as something welcoming and not restricting. For him the same is true of Islam. It merely eliminates that which does not bring blessing, and thereby allows one to live a good life.
Mari Peham deepened the good words through the songs she sang, accompanied by the piano.
Finally Mr. Ledermüller gave a personal testimony. When as a young man, he left home for boarding school and his father blessed him beforehand with holy water, he experienced the deep value of the parent’s blessing on their children. It was exactly 35 years ago, on 14.10.1982, that he experienced this depth of blessing again at the Marriage Blessing from Rev. Moon in Korea.
Mr. Kurt Sattlberger, energetic worker, could affirm that a blessing – unfortunately as well as a curse – given from parent to child, can have great effects also on the generations to come. Other participants contributed their meaningful insights and a lively conversation developed.
The group concluded the breakfast by singing the Irish Blessing all together. Click to watch a video.
All participants were of the same opinion that we can only keep a blessing when we pass it on.