From: Lucien Roy
University Ministry,
Loyola University Chicago
Re: Interreligious Dialogue

 

 

The Extent of Religious Diversity

At Loyola University Chicago the percentages of students according to identified religious affiliation are as follows: The total student population is approximately 13,000, of whom 7,000 are undergraduates. The students are given the option of identifying their religious affiliation at the time of registration. Because this is done by touch-tone telephone, we have no collected data for 8.1% of the students. The other percentages are as follows: 54% Catholic, 14% Protestant, 4.9% Jewish, 4.0% Muslim, 3.5% Orthodox, 9% Other and 3.5% none.

No data is available concerning the religious affiliation of staff or faculty.

University Ministry programs are open to all students regardless of religious denomination. In our Ministry Center we house the Hillel Association for Jewish faculty and students and both gathering space and the Baitulsalaam Mosque for the Muslim Student Association. On a regular basis the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and several other Christian groups use our facilities for meetings and other activities. We strongly encourage intentional dialogue between different groups and often have events, which are co-sponsored across religious lines. For example, we are entering our tenth consecutive year of a Jewish, Christian, Muslim dialogue on peace in the Mideast. In each of the past two years we have joined the Center for Faith and Mission in sponsoring programs on topics such as marriage or the place of suffering in which spokespersons from the above three traditions have presented the topic in the context of their own tradition. Presentations by any of the religious groups are open to all members of the university. On one of our campuses we feature exhibits of the differing religious customs that are observed at a given season of the year.

Pluralism and Catholics

The Catholic population of Loyola University Chicago is wholeheartedly committed to Loyola being a "home for all faiths". It is understood that we take religion seriously and that our goal is for each member of the university community to grow in the understanding and appreciation of his or her own faith tradition. It is often in dialogue with members of other religions that Catholic students come to realize their need to learn more about their own beliefs and customs. We frequently remind our students of the marvelous opportunity of the religious diversity in our community. We remind them also that simply studying side by side is not enough. We encourage and attempt to create situations for more intentional dialogue. We invite and challenge people of all faiths to take part in our efforts at promoting community service and social justice.

Members of the Campus Ministry Staff

The director of Hillel at Loyola is a member of the University Ministry Staff. Her salary is paid by Hillel, but the office space and some operational support are provided out of our Ministry budget. Jewish and Muslim faculty members of our Theology Department have worked closely with us in developing a number of initiatives. One of our staff will be organizing the second annual "Taste of Faith" here on campus on September 11. This is a daylong exhibit at which various religious groups from the university and the surrounding neighborhood are invited to display materials and to provide information on their respective traditions.

I would be glad to be the contact person here at Loyola University Chicago. My phone number is 773.508.2199. My email is lroy@luc.edu

I am also the chair of our AJCU conference of campus ministry directors. We meet annually sometime in March. If you would find it profitable to join us for a part of such a gathering, please let me know.


Created: September 3, 2000 Updated: September 3, 2000