Various religions connect in dialogue in Nevada

herif A. Elfass, Jikai’ Phil Bryan, Teri Appleby, Rajan Zed, V. James Jeffery and Charles T. Durante

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Catholic-Muslim-Hindu-Protestant-Buddhist-Jewish leaders today had a dialogue in Sparks (Nevada, USA) to explore connections among Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.

This interfaith panel in the annual conference titled “We Do This Together” and organized by Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno, also compared, contrasted, and commented on similarities and differences between Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism and related stories about “the good that can and does happen when we work together within the diversity of our faith traditions”.

Father Charles T. Durante, Pastor of Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Community of Carson City, facilitated this dialogue, and the interfaith panel explored the obstacles in interfaith dialogue and how to overcome those successfully and work together for the common good.

Besides Durante, the participants included Episcopal Rector Emeritus Reverend V. James Jeffrey, Northern Nevada Muslim Community President Dr. Sherif A. Elfass, Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed, Reno Buddhist Center Priest Jikai’ Phil Bryan, and Temple Sinai Reno Rabbi Teri Appleby. About 200 Catholics were in the audience at this panel discussion, which was concluded with Zed’s Gayatri Mantra, most sacred mantra of Hinduism, and Durante’s Catholic prayer.

Rajan Zed has congratulated the Catholic Diocese efforts in reaching out to other religions for a dialogue. “Religion is a complex component of human life. Dialogue helps us to see interconnections and interdependencies between religions and even similarities in doctrines,” Zed adds.

Besides interfaith dialogue, this two-day Roman Catholic conference which concluded on January 14 also included workshops on marriage, digital storytelling, partnership with God, Catholic household, helping teens to pray, unity in New Testament, threat of cyberbullying, Latino theology, negotiating society’s tensions, parent-teen communication, healing after abortion, etc.; besides an exhibition. Monique Jacobs was the Director. This annual dialogue tradition would continue in the coming years, Durante added.

Catholic Diocese of Reno, established in 1931, covers 70,852 square miles spread in eleven Nevada counties in addition to Carson City. Before 1840, this area was under the Diocese of Sonora in Mexico, when it came under the jurisdiction of Bishop Moreno of California. Current Bishop is Most Reverend Randolph R. Calvo.

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