Students and staff discuss religious experiences during MOSAIC’s interfaith lunch, part of interfaith week.
Walking into MOSAIC’s interfaith lunch on Thursday October 27th, students and staff attendees did not expect to sit with people outside of their circles. As they took their seats, they encountered an appreciative message about a religion signed off from someone of another faith. They were also reminded by a bracelet that they’re “better together.” The interfaith lunch was designed to allow people to speak about their religious experiences.
“The sole purpose is to encourage people to get to know each other around the table outside of the classroom…to take some intentional time to talk about your faith traditions, and hear about other faith traditions. The larger point of view is to really promote this idea that, yes, we are better together. Yes we’re diverse, we want to celebrate that diversity but, interfaith week is all about joining together to fellowship each other, learn from one another, to work together to make the world a better place. So interfaith week is all about raising awareness about the diversity that we have, and see what we share in that space,” Campus Minister, Coordinator of Ecumenical and Interfaith Engagement Kathryn Heidelberger said.
During the discussion, students and staff were asked about how they can use their faith to serve others. For director of campus ministry, Carrie Roberts, being Catholic means serving humanity.
“The reason that I love service and social justice work is because it’s also a big part of how I understand my relationship with God. I show God that I love God by serving others and caring for humankind. For me, it’s really intertwined, for what my faith looks like in service to everybody,” Roberts said.
For those struggling to identify themselves, a staff member, Anne Marie Smith, said it is challenging when she comes across people spreading their faiths.
“I often come across people trying to convert me or save me…it’s challenging…it’s not respecting where they’re at,” Smith said.
With the interfaith fair, both religious and non religious groups were able to take part in interfaith week, a significant part for Heidelberger. Smith participated in the fair and was there to raise awareness about atheists, agnostics, humanists, secularist, etc. She is looking to start a Humanist club on campus for students who are in need of support.
Dr. Brophy was also in attendance and said during the discussion, that every day, he has to think about the simple idea of using faith to serve others at a Catholic university in which he welcomes all.
At the end of the interfaith fair and interfaith lunch, students and staff left as interfaith allies.
“To be an interfaith ally means to stand in solidarity with people who are not of your faith tradition. But, in standing in solidarity with them, you’re committed to their well being, flourishing and their friendship,” Heidelberger said.