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Fr John Dupuche, right, with his Joint Journey to Jerusalem travel companions in 2014 (JointJourney2014 blog)

Ten years ago, 12 of us, four Jews, four Christians and four Muslims, men and women, went on a pilgrimage, led by a rabbi, a Catholic priest and an Imam, writes Fr John Dupuche. Source: The Age.

We travelled to Jerusalem, a city named after peace but which has seen so much war. We also visited Bethlehem, where, we are told, the angels sang of peace, but which has seen so much conflict.

The pilgrimage was brilliant and pioneering. We visited each other’s sacred sites, studied each other’s sacred texts, shared meals and discussed many issues, learning to appreciate the truth and goodness that lay in each of us.

In fact, our growing friendship enabled us to confront the sombre moments in the history of our traditions, both in the past and in the present moment of which we are keenly aware.

Back in Melbourne, we gave a great number of talks about our trip in different venues and even on national radio. As a result, others were inspired to organise their own “Joint Journey to Jerusalem”. Many of us have been further involved in interfaith activities in Australia and overseas. Our journey to the Holy Lands has had a ripple effect.

Our friendship has continued, and we still meet three or four times each year, either in person or online.

We are enthused by our different views; we learn to agree or else gently agree to disagree. Even in these troubled times we still enjoy each other’s company.

At a time when there is so much division and so many theatres of war, so many crimes against humanity around the world, we wish to share the story of an abiding and realistic friendship.

It is the best way forward.

Fr John Dupuche is Associate Professor at Catholic Theological College within the University of Divinity, Melbourne.


A friendship that lights the way (The Age)