With silence and prayer. This is how a thousand people accompanied the families of Catalan political and social leaders in jail and in exile on Tuesday. The Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi in Barcelona welcomed the prayer of members of seven religious confessions. Each confession chose texts from their spiritual tradition to demand “a resolution of the Catalan conflict in a dignified, non-violent, and respectful of Human Rights way.”

     During an hour the Basilica remained silent. The representatives of the confessions, mainly women, read some of their sacred texts. Specifically, Montse Castellà, from Buddhists for Peace and Human Rights, took part; Moriah Ferrús, from the Jewish Community of Catalonia; Conxa Adell, Benedictine of the monastic community of Sant Pere de les Puel·les; the Choir of the Orthodox Church Protecció de la Mare de Déu; Aicha Mahmassani, from the Commission of Women of the Islamic Cultural Council of Catalonia; Marta López Ballalta, pastor at the Barcelona-center Protestant Church; and Gagandeep Singh Khalsa, spokesman for the Sikh community in Catalonia. In between prayer and prayer, the relatives lit 18 candles that presided over the celebration.

     The celebration also had an ample institutional presence headed by the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, the president of the Parliament, Roger Torrent, and the minister of Justice Ester Capella. The act had a musical part coordinated by the composer Bernat Vivancos with clarinet pieces, organ and a string quartet, which culminated with an interpretation of the Cant dels Ocells with 18 cellos, one for each relative. The journalist Mònica Terribas read the presentation of the act that emphasized that “truth, justice, freedom, mercy and compassion are fundamental pillars of our beliefs. They are shared beliefs “.

Welcoming speech

Thanks to all those who are today with us, to those who have made this interreligious prayer possible and thanks to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi that welcomes us.

Today we have met to pray together. This will be a time of silent retirement. A space and a time shared between the various religious traditions we have in Catalonia. Rarely do we enjoy being united in prayer and in contemplative meditation. However, this is a special occasion that deserves our effort. We want to show our shared desire for a resolution of the Catalan conflict in a dignified, non-violent, and respectful of Human Rights way.

With this joint prayer, we wish to convey the hope that cooperation and solidarity are possible. They are possible when they are based on truth, justice, freedom, mercy and compassion. They are fundamental pillars of our beliefs. They are shared beliefs. Music will guide us throughout the celebration to find the serenity and quietness necessary. Therefore we ask you that during the whole celebration we express ourselves together only with silence.

A representative of each religious tradition will recite or read a meaningful text that will fill our minds and give us strength. Between prayer and prayer, after a few moments of deep silence, we will remember the eighteen people who for their political and social commitment are unjustly imprisoned or exiled. A representative of each family will offer a candle.

Light is the sign of whoever brings us together: let us say God, let us say the Ineffable and Unknowable presence of the Eternal, let us say its transcendence. The Cant dels Ocells interpreted by an ensemble of 18 violoncellos, who have met especially for this act, will end the celebration. Let the sweet voice of the birds encourage us and guide us on the paths of peace.

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