ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure University will host a Festival of Faiths in February, welcoming speakers of Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith communities.
Members of the SBU and Olean-area communities are invited to learn more about their neighbors’ religious traditions during the Thursday, Feb. 7, program, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the University Chapel, Doyle Hall, on the St. Bonaventure campus. Visitors should use the main university entrance and park at Doyle Hall.
“Moving from mere tolerance to true appreciation of the religious genius of our various faith communities is an important element of educating students to be world citizens,” said university President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F. “This festival will help us strengthen our commitment to achieve that.”
Participants will be able to select two of four workshop sessions.
The following workshop leaders will discuss their traditions: Rabbi Drorah Setel of Temple Beth El in Niagara Falls and past president of the Buffalo Board of Rabbis; Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., executive director of University Ministries at St. Bonaventure and a Franciscan friar, and the Rev. Dr. G. Stanford Bratton and the Rev. Xavier Mazur of the Network of Religious Communities; Zahid Y. Khairullah, Ph.D., and Durriya H. Z. Khairullah, Ph.D., members of the Islamic Society of the Southern Tier and St. Bonaventure faculty members; and Yogini Kothari, D.M.D., a member of the Hindu Society of Olean-Allegany and an Olean orthodontist.
Bratton and Mazur will introduce the evening.
The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge at SBU and University Ministries are partnering with the Network of Religious Communities to offer the program. NRC is an interreligious/ecumenical organization of denominations, congregations and religious organizations located in and serving Western New York.
“We live in an interreligious world with persons adhering to many different religious traditions. Western New York is reflective of the religious diversity of the world. In the present day, many persons live next door to persons practicing a religion different than their own,” said Bratton.
“We are Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian (Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic), Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Unitarian. Our purpose is to foster understanding, cooperation and collaboration among our members and within the wider community,” he said.
“In the spirit of the Franciscan heritage of the university, we are called to be bridge builders. That is, to reach out in a spirit of understanding and respect of the diversity on the campus and the global community,” added Sr. Suzanne Kush, C.S.S.F., director of St. Bonaventure’s Franciscan Center for Social Concern. “This program provides an opportunity to learn and to ask questions of the members of the various religious traditions who will share in the evening event.”
For more information, contact Sr. Suzanne at (716) 375-2358 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the Network of Religious Communities is available at www.religiousnet.org
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.