Ramadan, one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims, began Monday, April 12 and ends Wednesday, May 12, with the Eid al-Fitr holiday held on May 13. Muslims fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of drawing closer to God and cultivating self-control, gratitude and compassion for those less fortunate. The month is one of heightened focus on devotion, during which Muslims spend extra time reading the Quran and performing special prayers.
Greetings to all of my sisters and brothers of the Muslim faith tradition as you begin the celebration of Ramadan! I wish to offer a greeting of peace as you embark on your month-long vigil of fasting, prayer, and works of mercy.
In 1985, Pope John Paul II visited Belgium and addressed Muslim leaders. There he said, “As Christians and Muslims, we encounter one another in faith in the one God, our Creator and guide, our just and merciful judge. We believe that God transcends our thoughts and our universe and that his loving presence accompanies us throughout each day.”
I echo those sentiments with deep respect and friendship and offer you my prayerful best wishes as you mark this holy time on your calendar.
Given ongoing physical, social, and financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic along with racial tensions and civil unrest, our friendship bears great fruit during a time of anxiety. Together as a united human family, we are people whose hearts are grounded in faith and hope.
May your lives bring joy to all those around you.
+Nelson J. Pérez
Archbishop of Philadelphia
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