Coming Together for the JFRC’s Inter Religious Week

Coming Together for the JFRC’s Inter Religious Week

This week, the John Felice Rome Center focused on “joining hands for a world of peace, liberty, social justice, and moral value”. And I don’t think there could’ve been a better theme for the week as spring sets in and we all look towards a season of new beginnings (and warm weather of course).

Inter Religious week’s festivities began with a guest lecture by Dr. Janis Fine on the importance of interfaith dialogue. Dr. Fine traveled all the way from Chicago to Rome to lead several events throughout the week. On Monday evening the Student Activities Committee organized a Silent Auction for goods and services provided by students and staff of the JFRC. All of the proceeds from the auction went to support the Jesuit Refugee Services and Relay for Life. The most popular items of the night included a variety of baked goods, a private tour of the Vatican Gardens, and because our campus raised over 1,000 euros Student Life Assistant Mitch had to shave his head… and his beard.

Tuesday evening an Interfaith Dialogue was led by women of the Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, and Jewish faiths. The dialogue centered on the role women play in each of these religions and was followed by an interfaith prayer service. Wednesday morning a group of students was able to tour the only mosque in Rome, which allowed them a deeper look into the Islamic faith. On Thursday evening Dr. Fine led the students once again in a traditional Passover Seder and Festive meal. Students learned the history of Jewish slavery to freedom while they shared this symbolic meal and reflected on themes of freedom and the blessing of abundance as they see it in their lives.

One of the most exciting opportunities Inter Religious week offers is the Friday day trip to the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue. Unfortunately, I personally did not attend, but I’ve heard nothing but high praises from those who went. Dr. Fine led the trip which began with historical readings about Jewish suppression along the banks of the Tiber River. The group was then able to tour the Jewish synagogue and a museum as they dove deeper into the practice of Judaism. One big highlight of the day was the Kosher lunch they shared together in the Jewish Ghetto, which my friends said was absolutely incredible.

Although I was unable to attend all the events this week had to offer, I think it was successful in conveying messages of cooperation and peace among those who may hold different beliefs than us. And I definitely think that this message is especially important for all of us studying abroad. As we travel from country to country this semester and experience a multitude of different cultures a willingness to learn about and respect other peoples is of utmost importance.

Comments are closed.