A few weeks ago, as my Easter worship celebration was coming to an end, the pastor offered a series of prayers. As I contemplated the words flowing from her heart, I was struck by one prayer in particular because it was the first time I’d heard an interfaith prayer in my mainline Protestant church. The pastor offered a prayer of blessing upon “our Muslim and Jewish siblings” who, like the Christian community were in the midst of holy seasons: Ramadan and Passover.
This year was unique in that all three Abrahamic faiths celebrated major holidays at the same time. The seasons of Ramadan, Passover, and Easter seldom align and next year, more typically, we will see the seasons once again scattered at varying times in the spring. But for this year, for a few weeks, all three traditions were united through holy weeks of rituals and prayers.
At DePaul, the three Abrahamic traditions along with other faith and spiritual communities are often united, sometimes in prayer and ritual, and at other times through service, a community meal, or dialogue. This is DePaul. Our community is defined by a mission that “compassionately upholds the dignity of all members of its diverse, multi-faith, and inclusive community.”[i] According to Islamicist Antoine Moussali, C.M., Saint Vincent sent members of his own Vincentian community out to a multi-faith world and asked that his missionaries demonstrate “ardent zeal, prudent discretion, patient forbearance, joyful openness to change, active interior life, confident humility, infinite respect for the other person whether Christian or [other], openness and circumspection intelligence of mind and heart.”[ii]
As members of the DePaul community, we are all called to care for our siblings of all faith or spiritual traditions. We are asked to unite with one another and support one another, not just during special holy times, but always. As Vincentians, we are called to infinitely respect everyone within our multi-faith community. May we approach our caring, support, and respect for people of all faiths and all spiritual expressions with ardent zeal, joyful openness to change, and humility.
To ponder: As you go about your daily tasks, how do you show respect and offer support for those whose faith or spiritual lives are different than your own?
Reflection by: Rev. Dr. Diane Dardón, Director, Religious Diversity and Pastoral Care, Division of Mission and Ministry
[i] University Mission Statement, 4 March 2021, at: https://offices.depaul.edu/mission-ministry/about/Pages/mission.aspx
[ii] Antoine Moussali, C.M., “Relationships with Islam in the Time of St. Vincent: History and Attitude of St. Vincent and his Missionaries to Moslems,” Vincentiana 39:3 (May 1995). Available online at https://via.library.depaul.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1621&context=vincentiana.