On August 24, the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem received his Excellency, Mons. Bishop Erio Castellucci Bishop of Modena with seven priests, and two hundred and forty pilgrims who came from the parish of Modena-Nonantola, to present a statuette that represents the meeting of St. Francis with the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Kamel as a token of thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the Franciscan Friars.
Fr GIACOMO VIOLI
Episcopal Vicar for Evangelization in the Diocese of Modena-Nonantola
"We hope, by thanking the Franciscan Friars, that this very great statuette of St. Francis can be an example to all of us and to all pilgrims, an example of encounter, exchange, and living together. Today, 800 years after the meeting of Saint Francis with the Sultan al-Kamel, is a big feast for us. We in the church of Modena are grateful to the Custos of the Holy Land and the friars who always welcome us, do their utmost to provide the opportunity for meeting together, providing peace for pilgrims and the people of the Holy Land."
HE Mgr Erio Castellucci
Bishop of Modena – Nonantola
"The message here is to provide hope in the possibility of dialogue, despite everything, despite the reality that seems to be the opposite; we still talk today about many divisions, fights, conflicts, and violence. We Christians must continue to believe and hope with Jesus and Saint Francis in the importance of dialogue."
Despite the sensitivity of St. Francis' visit to the Ayyubid Sultan, it shows a daring decision, courage, and openness of St. Francis to dialogue on the one hand, and the readiness of the Sultan to listen on the other. Today, eight hundred years later, His Holiness Pope Francis requests the intercession of the Saint to renew the culture of "Peace and Dialogue."
Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"The meeting between St Francis and Sultan Al-Kamel will be also an occasion to help the pilgrims who will come later, to reflect on the importance of this meeting and on the fact that this way that St. Francis transmitted to us through the encounter with the Sultan is the way that we too must use here in the Holy Land."
The dream of Francis was realized since eight centuries and it continues to be realized also thanks to this meeting.
Parish of Modena–Nonantola
"The days that were culminated with this meeting are days of grace and joy. Because the meeting between St. Francis and the Sultan represents a precious gift which brings an important message to all the young people of our diocese and to the whole world: a meeting which denotes love, peace, and blessings for building a future of hope and love together."