Holocaust Memorial Day 2012

H/T to Jim Manney at Ignatian Spirituality.com at Loyola Press for this free resource In Spite of Darkness to co-incide with the anniversary of Holocaust Memorial Day today.

It is an award-winning documentary about an interfaith retreat at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps in Poland, where more than 6 million people, nearly all of them European Jews, were exterminated by the Nazis.

Colin and I visited Auschwitz several years ago and my memory of it as a profound experience is still fresh and raw.

 This is the description from the You tube site.

"Auschwitz -- unique symbol of methodically perfected horror, and at the same time destination for daily streams of tourists. How can an encounter with this place avoid the banality of a visit? 

This question was asked by New York Zen master Roshi Bernhard Glassman. His answer: the "Auschwitz Retreat". 

He invites people of different ethnicity and belief to face Auschwitz directly and without cover. The group will spend five days in meditation, silence, prayer and sharing on the very grounds of the termination camp. An encounter happens between Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists. Descendants of victims meet descendants of perpetrators.

The film portrays five participants and follows closely their inner development. They are changing. Beliefs are undermined, old wounds torn open, reconciliation begins. It is no longer they who come to Auschwitz, it is Auschwitz that comes to them. In silence they bear witness to what happened there."

  It was produced by Loyola Productions Munich and directed by Christof Wolf, SJ.  You can watch the full film here at at this link on the film’s site or on You Tube here 

Prayers for Holocaust Memorial Day

God, you created us all in your own likeness. 
Thank you for the wonderful diversity of humans and cultures in your world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship and understanding;
show us your presence in those most different from us,
so that in all our relationships, both by what we have in common and by things in which we differ, we may come to know you more fully in your creation; for you are our God, for ever and ever. Amen

Compassionate God, consoler of the suffering,
hear the cry of those who are victims of heartless political oppression;
those who languish in prisons and labour camps, untried or falsely condemned; 
those whose bodies are shattered, or whose minds are broken by torture or deprivation.   

Meet them in their anguish and despair, and kindle in them the light of hope, that they may find rest in your love, healing in  your compassion and faith in your mercy. 

Bring peace and reconciliation to those divided by conflict in the Middle East.

In the name of him who suffered, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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