Dear Fr. Clooney,
I wanted to make some initial contact with you in regard to your letter concerning interreligious dialogue at our school, St. John's Jesuit in Toledo, OH. We are an all boys school - approximately 70% Roman Catholic, 30% Protestant/other world religions. I can send more exact statistics when our school tabulates the new numbers for 2000-2001.
In general, we have few problems between/among faiths - we have an atmosphere in the school which is pretty accepting of people of a variety of beliefs while still emphasizing our Catholic, Jesuit heritage. I am now director of campus ministry (and have a new title - Vice President for Jesuit Identity - new job - evolving duties), but when I was teaching theology, I always had a sense that dialogue between faiths in the classroom was a very good & positive thing. (We also deal with a heavy population of the "unchurched.")
Probably the biggest problem we've had - and it isn't major - is with the Eucharist. We make a statement at the beginning of the Mass of the Holy Spirit - asking Catholics to come forward for communion and those who don't share the Catholic faith to come forward for a blessing. We also talk with all theology classes about this issue - especially freshmen. For some kids, that is a difficult thing, and I know it's not easy for non-Catholic faculty members. We do the best we can.
None of our campus ministry programs are specifically directed to people of others faiths - but kids of all faiths generally feel comfortable participating. We do the best we can to include all in liturgies and in retreats.
All members of our campus ministry staff are Roman Catholics.
Hope this helps. I can get you more exact statistics next month.
God bless your work.
Tom Pipp, S.J.
Created: September 2, 2000 Updated: September 2, 2000