Jesuit Advisory Board Focuses on Interreligious Dialogue

October 28 - 30, St. Louis University

A newly organized National Jesuit Advisory Board on Interreligious Dialogue and Relations met over the weekend of October 28-30, 2005, at Jesuit Hall on the campus of St. Louis University. The Advisory Board, a project of the Jesuit Conference and a long-term response to the recommendations of General Congregation 34 in 1995, assists in the implementation of the commitment of Jesuits worldwide to include interreligious dialogue as an essential part of their ministries in service to the church.

            A similar board was formed and operative since 2000, coordinated by Francis X. Clooney, S.J., then on the faculty of Boston College and now at Harvard Divinity School. In response to Clooney’s recommendation to the Jesuit Conference at the end of his term, an agreement was formulated and signed between the Conference and Georgetown University designating John Borelli, Special Assistant for Interreligious Initiatives to the President of Georgetown University, to serve the Jesuit Conference as National Coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue and Relations.

            Devoting much of their time at this meeting to getting acquainted and reviewing past activities, members of the Advisory Board concluded with several decisions. They intend to develop a series of institutes for formation in interreligious dialogue and relations for various groups serving in Jesuit ministries. They will explore the development of media projects to be used in education and raising consciousness among Jesuits and those who work with them of the importance of interreligious dialogue. They will consider a proposed study of how Jesuit colleges and universities promote interreligious understanding and address the increasing religious pluralism on their campuses. The Advisory Board also reviewed the website associated with their activities and recommended several improvements. The website can be found at http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/dialogue/index.html.

            The Board supports a graduate student conference for those at Jesuit universities who have an interest in interreligious dialogue, comparative theology, and religious pluralism. The next conference will be at Boston College, March 17-19, 2006. Interested graduate students should contact Karen Enriquez (enriquek@bc.edu). In addition, the Board will continue to hold a breakfast for those at Jesuit colleges and universities who attend the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

            Continuing with the National Advisory Board are James T. Bretzke, SJ (University of San Francisco), Raymond A. Bucko, SJ (Creighton University), James D. Redington, SJ (Jesuit School of Theology—Berkeley), and Clooney. In addition, Borelli appointed Carol H. Corgan (Gonzaga College High School, Washington, DC) to the board, and nine of the ten Jesuit provincials of the United States have appointed representatives.

            At this first meeting of the reorganized Advisory Board, a special discussion of the role of province representatives was inaugurated. Those representatives appointed to the board are Glen Chun, SJ (Chicago), Norman J. Dickson, SJ (Detroit), Francis T. Hannafey, SJ (New England), Thomas Lawler, SJ (Wisconsin), Patrick J. Ryan, SJ (New York), Carl F. Starkloff, SJ (Missouri), Anh Tran, SJ (California), James Walsh, SJ (Maryland), and Christopher Weekly, SJ (Oregon). Also serving on the Board and attending the meeting was Paul B Macke, SJ, Secretary for Pastoral Ministries at the Jesuit Conference

            There were fourteen Advisory Board members at this year’s meeting. The board and its activities are supported by a budget funded by the Jesuit Conference and Georgetown University.

 

For further information contact: John Borelli, Georgetown University, 202 687-4936, borellij@georgetown.edu.

 

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