Webinar: Building Interfaith Infrastructure

Interfaith Youth Core is hosting a webinar entitled “Stepping onto your Soapbox: Exploring Interfaith Connections to Campus Mission, Vision, and Values” on February 21 at 1:00 PM EST. This webinar is part of a three-part spring series designed for campus professionals and college/university educators who are interested in making a stronger case for interfaith cooperation as a campus-wide priority.

While the webinars have been designed these to build upon one another, you may sign up for as many or as few as your schedule allows. The following two webinars in the series are Finding Your People: Expanding Buy-in for Interfaith Initiatives on March 21 and Planning for the Next Year: Exploring Strategies for 2017-2018 Interfaith Initiatives  on April 27.


Seattle University Opens Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs

Seattle University has opened a new Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, devoted to exploring the ways in which religious wisdom and the resources of faith communities can lend assistance in the analysis, diagnosis and community responses needed to address pressing social problems. The Center plans to accomplish this goal in three ways: a commitment to interfaith dialogue, linking scholarship and faith-based action, and re-imagining the role of religion in public life.

Every two years, the Center will focus on a specific social issue, such as, rising inequalities, gender-based violence, human trafficking and unsustainable use of environmental resources. The Center is focusing on homelessness.

In launching this project, Seattle University is issuing a call for scholars on inter-religious exploration of homelessness. Scholars will meet at Seattle University on April 25 and 26, 2017.  During the course of the two days, they will learn about the issue of homelessness from legal experts, policy analysts, and economists; participate in a discussion with local stakeholders, including religious leaders; and prepare paper proposal abstracts through a collaborative effort.  Scholars will return to Seattle University in April of 2018 to present their papers at a second symposium.  This scholarly initiative aims to produce an anthology that captures the best interfaith thinking about the religious, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of homelessness. Travel expenses, lodging, and meals will be covered by the Center.  Scholars will also receive an honorarium.

To be considered, please submit 1) a one-page letter of interest and 2) curriculum vitae to Manuel Mejido, Ph.D., Director, Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, by email, care of: crwwa@seattleu.edu.  The selection committee will meet in December of 2016.  Scholars will be notified in January of 2017. The deadline for submissions is December 12, 2016.

IFYC Releases New Report on Emerging Interfaith Trends

A new report is available from Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) on what college students think about religion.  The Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS), a project of IFYC with Professors Alyssa Rockenbach of North Carolina State University and Matthew Mayhew of The Ohio State University, tracks a group of students over the course of four years to examine the impact of college on students attitudes and engagement with others with diverse religious worldviews. Emerging Interfaith Trends is the first report released from this study, providing insight into student behavior and engagement with interfaith issues prior to coming to college. The study will continue to follow this group of students throughout their time in school.

To learn more, download the full report here, and join IFYC in an upcoming webinar to learn more about the findings.  The webinar will be offered at October 5 at 1 p.m. ET, and again on October 13 at 1 p.m. ET.

Peace and Justice in ACCU’s Fall Newsletter

ACCU recently released the fall edition of Update, our quarterly newsletter. Read Update in full here. Peace and Justice highlights include:

Global Solidarity Grants Increase Awareness of Catholic Social Teaching at Benedictine University, Cabrini College, Dominican University, St. Norbert’s College, and the University of St. Thomas (TX).

Catholic Colleges Bring Higher Education to the Incarcerated: Saint Francis College, Donnelly College, Holy Cross College, University of Notre Dame, and La Salle University implement programs to bring higher education to those incarcerated.

Spring Hill Alumni Participate in Inaugural Service Trip to Belize where they worked building homes.

Loyola Chicago Students Donate Care Packages to Soldiers serving in Iraq through a partnership with Aramark by using the remaining balance on meal plan to purchase care package materials

Loras Student Wins Interfaith Leadership Award- Recent graduate Samantha Eckrich was awarded the Mike Hammer Interfaith Leadership Award, which recognized her effort in promoting interfaith cooperation on campus.

To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.

Interfaith Youth Core Better Together Awards

Students, faculty, staff, and campuses that dedicate their time to interfaith work are invited to submit applications to be recognized for their achievements through the Better Together Awards sponsored by Interfaith Youth Core . The awards will include:

Awardees will receive money to increase their interfaith work on campus, as well as free registrations to an upcoming Interfaith Leadership Institute. Submit your application or nominate a student, faculty, or staff member today – the Outstanding Faculty/Staff Ally applications are due May 8, and the other award nominations are due by May 15. 

How does your college or university engage in interfaith work? Let us know! 

Interfaith Youth Core to Fundraise for Refugees with ‘Better Together Day’

As people of faith, we are called to dialogue and cooperation with people of faith traditions different from our own in order to work for the common good of society; as Interfaith Youth Core writes, “Knowing something about another person’s religious or non-religious background helps you connect with that entire group.” For this reason, IFYC will host again its annual Better Together Day on April 7!

Better Together Day participants are encouraged to take a day to learn about another person’s religious traditions or values. All are welcome to participate by joining Twitter events, planning or attending an event in their area, or submitting a quote, a verse, or a simple personal statement about interfaith literacy to IFYC’s fundraising campaign for the International Rescue Committee. When the campaign receives 5,000 submissions, IFYC will donate $10,000 to IRC, which is committed to responding to global humanitarian crises by “helping people service, recover, and reclaim control of their futures.”

Be sure to submit your quote, verse, or statement by April 7, and read more about creative ideas for campus events, service projects, and other ways to participate.

How does your college or university promote interfaith literacy, dialogue, or cooperation? Let us know! 

A Statement from San Bernardino

A Statement from San Bernardino

By Brian St. Clair

I’ve heard the phrase “too close to home” more in the last few days than I pray I ever will again. My wife and I live in Redlands. She works at a nonprofit in San Bernardino down the street from the center where the recent mass shooting took place. I work in Redlands near the neighborhood where the shooters’ apartment stocked with weaponry was discovered. The shooting rocked our community, our sense of safety, and our sense of being at home. The fact that it may in part have been designed to do just that makes it worse. The fact that the killers are dead gives us no solace. Only our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and love for one another can provide that.

The person and the place you call home is determined most by bonds of love and generosity. Much less by the things we oppose, and even less still by what we hate. Our hatred doesn’t define us; it doesn’t make us powerful. Only our love can do that.

When watching the news release the names of the shooters, our hearts sank. We feared the killers might be identified as Muslims and that this might bring a fresh wave of inhumane hatred with their act of inhumanity. It’s a double crime to betray your community with horrific violence and at the same time corrupt the names of good and peaceful religious people who are among the creative citizens who call America their home. Such an act does violence to truth as well as to flesh and blood.

We have personal as well as social reasons to fear. My wife is Muslim and I am Catholic. We met 8 years ago and got married for the first time nearly two years ago. I say “for the first time” because we were married three times to each other – once civilly (and within 90 days of legal entry) in accordance with American law, once in accordance with Islam, and once in accordance with the Catholic Church. We’ve made an art of reconciling requirements, statutes, and limitations, and turning them into a beautiful journey we can share together on our way to creating a life of joy and family and service to others.

Is ours a story of immigration, of interfaith union, of overcoming odds and obstacles? Maybe it is, but that’s not how we see it. To us, ours is a love story like any other. Have we encountered bigotry and unintentional insult? Yes. Do we live in a safe world? Sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not. Do we live in a world that supports our most glorious aspirations or one that’s hostile to our deeply held dreams? Both. What about the country we call home? It often lives up to its reputation and sometimes it falls short. Does any of this paralyze us? Almost never.

And neither will the mass shooting here in San Bernardino. The day after the shooting, people lined up at a local blood bank down the street from the building where the shooting happened to donate blood for the victims. We’re a people that literally bleed for each other when one of us is in trouble. That’s a beautiful thing and something that greatly pleases the God who made us, no matter by what name we address Her or by what prophet He speaks to us.

In the wake of the violent events that unfolded, we were both drawn back to the silent prayer of meditation. Meditation is a practice common to both our faith traditions that we regularly share together. When chaos struck, meeting God at the point of stillness within us helped us to remember the innermost essence of who we are and who we are called to be in the world. Meditation reminded us of the open disposition toward others we should have even at the times when it’s most difficult to have it.

Much will be said about things we should do to make it more difficult for people to commit acts of mass murder like the one that happened here. We should talk about those things and we should do more to prevent these acts. But we should also do more to foster communities of hospitality, respect, and resilience. We should do more to be a haven for refugees, immigrants, and the poor. We should do more to live up to our highest ideals and not lower our standards in the interests of self-interest and self-protection. In the end, that doesn’t make us safer – only smaller.

Many and specific will be the calls to respond. And if we must respond to extremism in the extreme, let it be thus: to extend friendship with those different from us, to welcome the stranger from foreign lands, to give when we haven’t enough ourselves, to learn more about the people we find most difficult to understand, to serve one another when it makes us most uncomfortable, and to forgive when we would rather take vengeance. At this time, I’m reminded of the words of a Jesuit priest who spoke at mass on the day of my Georgetown graduation. While I don’t remember his name, his words I’ll never forget. He said, “The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your loving.” No words I’ve heard feel truer to me now than these.

 Brian St. Clair (SFS’06) is a Georgetown University alumnus and lives in San Bernardino, CA.  St. Clair was one of the original student leaders at Georgetown’s establishment of the John Main Center.  This article was originally posted on the John Main Center website on December 8, 2015.

About The John Main Center:

The John Main Center at Georgetown University upholds meditation as prayer for the 21st century.  The center aims to promote meditation integration into education, business, and healthcare.  While particularly focused on meditation in the Catholic tradition of John Main, we promote the practice amongst all traditions, faiths, and secularly.  Through lectures, seminars, programs, and courses we wish to make meditation universal in daily life.

Peace and Justice in ACCU’s Winter Newsletter

Earlier this week, ACCU released the Winter 2015 issue of its quarterly newsletter, Update. Read it in its entirety here, but be sure to take note of the peace and justice related sections. The highlighted sections include:

Marymount University Students Help Create Urban Farm by transforming an inner Washington, DC land plot into a venue for a “farmers market, public art, a community garden, and more.”

St. Thomas Aquinas Event Focuses on Water, in an effort to raise awareness about water conservation, sustainability, and more.

Mount Saint Vincent Releases Findings on Human Trafficking that show widespread lack of awareness about the issue.

Loras Professor Works to Start Interfaith Dialogue through the recently established interfaith movement called Children of Abraham, which seeks to foster dialogue among the Abrahamic faiths.

Carlow Dedicates LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-Certified Building, which features advanced technology throughout the building that will save energy and water and reduce waste.

Christian Brothers University, Felician University, Georgetown University, and The University of the Incarnate Word Answer the Call to Action with expansive initiatives to reach out to Hispanic and Latino students pursuing higher education.

 To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.

ACCU members recognized for interfaith, economic opportunity, and education

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was released in December, and again ACCU members made a very strong showing. This year, in addition to being listed on the general honor roll, ACCU members were recognized in three specialized categories: interfaith, economic opportunity, and education.

A total of 93 ACCU members were recognized this year on the General Community Service Honor Roll, including 14 on the honor roll “with Distinction.” This is 47.2 % of all ACCU members and 14% of all the U.S. colleges and universities on the honor roll. Catholic colleges and universities make up just 5% of degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States.

Four additional ACCU members were recognized in three specialized categories, bringing the total number of ACCU members recognized to 97 – or 49.2% of all ACCU members. Achievement in these three specialized community service recognition categories demonstrate impressive results:

– In the Interfaith category, 21 of 93  (22.6%) of the schools recognized were ACCU members (Seattle University was classified as a finalist; Loras College was earlier recognized as outstanding in the category).

– In the Economic Opportunity category, 12 of 83 (14.5%) were ACCU members.

– In the Education category, 35 of 194 (18.0%) were ACCU members (Loyola University of Chicago was recognized as a finalist).

Find details at:


Save the date: Cabrini College hosting conference on climate change


Grace Hall, Cabrini College

610 King of Prussia Rd., Radnor, PA 19087

Friday, April 17, 2015, 9a.m.-2p.m.

At this free conference, concerned citizens will gather to examine the perils of climate change and how we as a society can address them.

  • SEE – the spiritual call to care for God’s creation.
  • JUDGE – the scientific evidence about the threats posed by climate change.
  • ACT – with practical initiatives on how to undertake take political, institutional, and personal advocacy to arrest climate change and bring about a greener world.

U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey has been invited to be the keynote speaker on

“The Impact of Climate Change on Children’s Health”

Additional Speakers Include:

  • John Francis Burke, Ph.D., Cabrini College, “The Greening of Catholic Social Teaching”
  • Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center ”From Eden to Shabbat to Jubilee: The Earth-Oriented Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures “

Breakout Sessions

  • Carrie Nielsen, Ph.D., Cabrini College, A Scientific Engagement of Environmental Health Issues
  • Chuck Marshall, Central Baptist Church, Striving for a Carbon-Neutral Faith-Based Community – The Case of Central Baptist, Wayne PA
  • The Shalom Center, Environmental Political Advocacy – “Move Our Money, Protect Our Planet”
  • Mitch Hescox, Evangelical Environmental Network, The Joseph Pledge – Preparing Churches for Extreme Weather & Climate Change

Lunch will be provided.


Cabrini College

Shalom Center

PA Interfaith Power and Light

Evangelical Environmental Network

PHILADELPHIA Interfaith Power and Light

The PA Religious Coalition on Creation Care

The National Religious Coalition on Creation Care