Interfaith Panel Discussion and Dinner

By: Azka Khan

Photo credit: Azka Khan

Photo credit: Azka Khan

With almost 60 people in attendance, the interfaith panel discussion and dinner took place on the evening of Saturday, March 29th. The purpose of the panel was to unite and discuss interfaith awareness and education through six panelists of various religions and backgrounds, according to Jermeen Wadie, a sophomore and organizer of the event.

“Since I have a passion for interfaith work both on a personal and intellectual level, I decided to organize an interfaith panel,” said Wadie, also a recipient of the Arthur J. Schmitt scholarship. Recipients of the Arthur J. Schmitt scholarship are required to commit at least 20 hours towards leadership and prepare a major learning service project asserts.

“In every faith there is love and compassion,” asserted Devendra Patel, the former Mayor of Lockport at the interfaith panel discussion. Benedictine student Jake Kennedy not only helped organize the event, but also lead the discussion and panels.

“[Jake] has the same passion, and he is very knowledgeable about the different faiths,” expressed Wadie.

The event consisted of an hour-long panel where panelists provided a 7-minute speech about their faith. Panelists included Benedictine’s very own Father Julian von Durbek, who is a monk at the Abbey and represented Catholicism. There were also panelists from all over the United States, as well as Chicago representing Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Judaism.

“The lesson here is acceptance. We have to accept each other and our differences and even appreciate those differences to make our world a better place,” said Wadie. 

Dinner was then served. Throughout dinner, tables were alive with various discussions about interfaith and the role of religion in their lives.

“I was happy to see people from different faiths talk among each other before, during, and even after the event. That was the goal of the event and the goal was achieved,” added Wadie, about how she planned on educating people about interfaith.

After dinner, guests submitted questions to ask the panelists. The overall purpose of the event was summarized by the last question: what is the necessity of religion in life? The panelists agreed that even though they have different beliefs, religion is a guide for all.

Towards the end, all the panelists received certificates as a token of gratitude for all their help. Guests expressed that these types of events are needed, especially if people want world peace.

“It was a very fulfilling event and I loved it,” said Jazmine Acosta, sophomore.