December 08, 2020

Visit to Mercy College Coburg of the Consul General of the United Arab Emirates for Interfaith Dialogue

L-r: L-r: Sr Anna Dublé, H.E. Dr Nariman Al Mulla, Lila McInerney in the college chapel

An historic event took place at Mercy College Coburg (Victoria, Australia) on Thursday December 3rd when the Consul General of the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Dr Nariman Al Mulla, visited the school to engage in an event 'to foster tolerance and interfaith dialogue between both religions, which is considered one of the key values in the UAE'

After an acknowledgement of Country, Prayer and a warm welcome were extended by Mrs Lila McInerney, Principal, together with students, the choir and musicians.

'Australia is a multi-faith, multicultural society. Today in meeting with Her Excellency Dr Nariman Al Mulla, we have been given the opportunity, as Pope Francis has encouraged, 'to dialogue with those who have another faith...because we all have in common our having been created in the image and likeness of God'.

In her speech Dr Nariman Al Mulla addressed the work of the UAE in relation to peace and explained the emphasis of the leadership of their country on the value of tolerance. They now have a Ministry of Tolerance.   The Consul General also presented the college with a large framed photo of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.

Monsignor Joe Takchi, Priest of the Maronite Community in Victoria, spoke about the visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi in the UAE in February 2019 and his signing, with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheik Ahmed al Tayeb, of this Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, which called for peace between nations, religions and races. 

The event in Abu Dhabi was also attended by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.  It took place before a global audience of religious leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other faiths.

In his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis quotes from the Document: “I have felt particularly encouraged by the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, with whom I met in Abu Dhabi where we declared that “God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters.” (FT #5)

Other speeches were made by Fr John Hanna, Anglican Parish Priest of Coburg and Sister Adele Howard, Sister of Mercy, accompanied by Sr. Anna Dublé who has lived and worked as an educator for much of her life in the Coburg area, and Sr Mary Geason who has worked in the Health sector and in Community leadership for many years, in Australia, in PNG and in Kenya. 

Sr Adele spoke briefly about Catherine McAuley, the history of the Sisters of Mercy and their connection with the Coburg Mercy College site since the first Convent was built there in 1903.  She talked about the tradition of the works of the Sisters of Mercy in Education, Health and Community Services. She then thanked the Consul General for her inspiring address saying, ‘we pray that we may all work together to create a world which will be more compassionate, merciful and at peace.’

The Consul General, Dr Nariman Al Mulla accompanied by the Principal, Mrs Lila McInerney,  delighted in the students’ enjoyment of a lunchtime music concert in the College gardens and then in the tradition and beauty of the College Chapel.

This tour of Mercy College and the Chapel was appreciated by all and was followed by the warm hospitality of good conversation and a welcome lunch, including the great Mercy tradition of a ‘a good cup of tea’.

Messages to: Lila McInerney- Principal, Mercy College Coburg

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