The Pope’s first-ever video message on his monthly prayer intentions was released Tuesday, highlighting the importance of interreligious dialogue and the beliefs different faith traditions hold in common, such as the figure of God and love.
“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God,” Pope Francis said in his message, released Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany.
At the beginning of the video, a minute-and-a-half long, the Pope cites the fact that the majority of the earth’s inhabitants profess some sort of religious belief.
This, he said, “should lead to a dialogue among religions. We should not stop praying for it and collaborating with those who think differently.”
The video goes on to feature representatives of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, who proclaim their respective beliefs in God, Jesus Christ, Allah and Buddha.
Later on, after the Pope affirms that all, regardless of their religious profession, are children of God, the faith leaders state their common belief in love.
Pope Francis closes the video by expressing his hope that viewers “will spread my prayer request this month: that sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce fruits of peace and justice. I have confidence in your prayers.”
An initiative of the Jesuit-run global prayer network Apostleship of Prayer, the video was filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center (CTV) and marks the first time the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions have been featured on video.
The Apostleship of Prayer was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, particularly for the needs of the Church. Since the late 1800s the organization has also received a monthly intention from the Pope. In 1929 an additional, missionary intention was added by the Holy Father, aimed at the faithful in particular.
Referred to on the organizations’ website as the Pope’s “universal” and “evangelization” intentions, this month’s prayer requests focus on Francis’ desire for Interreligious Dialogue and Christian Unity.
Francis offers his universal petition so that “sincere dialogue among men and women of different faiths may produce the fruits of peace and justice,” and expresses his evangelistic prayer that “by means of dialogue and fraternal charity and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Christians may overcome divisions.”
The Apostleship of Prayer has called the new videos on the intentions “The Pope Video.” While there are two intentions, the videos are centered on the first, universal intention.
This month’s video also features old friends of the pontiff from his time in Buenos Aires. Namely, Rabbi Daniel Goldman, Fr. Guillermo Marco, a Catholic priest, and Islamic leader Omar Abboud.
Released on various social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the video shows Pope Francis speaking in his native Spanish, with subtitles available in a total of 10 different languages.
Papal prayer intentions for the rest of the year are listed on the organization’s website, displaying themes close to Francis’ heart, such as prayers for creation, families in difficulty, small farmers, indigenous peoples, countries receiving refugees, an end to child-soldiers, solidarity and respect for women.