Columban Podcast - Building Bridges

Listen to Building Bridges

Listen to Episode 1 - Building Bridges

Script of the episode.

The Sydney Statement is named after the city where it was produced. It was generated and authorised by young adults, who showed great leadership by providing their fellow citizens with an inspirational interfaith charter.  

The long-standing icon of this city is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened on the 19th of March 1932, joining the north and south parts of this city with a rail, road and pedestrian link. Hundreds of thousands of people cross this bridge each day. 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge connects, links, and unites the people of this city. Therefore, it is an appropriate icon for The Sydney Statement, whose purpose is to “build bridges between believers from different religions”, the sub-title of The Sydney Statement, and has been incorporated into its logo.

Rev Dr Patrick McInerney speaking at The Sydney Statement launch

Rev Dr Patrick McInerney speaking at The Sydney Statement launch. Photo: CCCMR

However, this image of the bridge is not just for Sydney. It applies to “New York and Rio and old London town”, to every city and town divided by a river or an inlet over which a bridge has been built to bring people together and to unite them. 

For example, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, affectionately known as “The City of Bridges”, boasts 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world. For the last three years local artist, Ebtehal Badawi, has been using an image of a bridge for her “Pittsburgh Builds Bridges” campaign, to promote healing and unity in the city.[1] 

In September, inspired by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge which spans the mighty Danube River to unite Buda and Pest to create Budapest, the capital of Hungary, Pope Francis urged the church “to build new bridges of dialogue”, to “be a builder of bridges and an advocate of dialogue!”[2]

May we all be builders of bridges between people of different cultures, languages, ethnicities, and religions. May we all be bridge-builders, reaching out, reconciling and uniting people, to form one human family, all sisters and brothers together. 

Rev Dr Patrick McInerney, Director, Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations.

[1] Muslim artist’s work builds bridges in Pittsburgh

[2] https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2021/september/documents/20210912-budapest-vescovi.html

Watch the highlights of The Sydney Statement launch!

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