Loras College is committed to providing and promoting interfaith opportunities and dialogue for students, faculty and staff.
As part of Loras' identity as a Catholic institution, the Second Vatican Council's Nostra Aetate declares, "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in [other] religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men" (n. 2).
2014 President's Award for Interfaith Community Service
Loras College received the nation's first and only President's Award for Interfaith Community Service from the Corporation for National and Community Service. This nationwide designation is part of the 2014 Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and recognizes Loras and its students for their commitment to volunteer service.
Loras College is a Catholic, diocesan college explicitly oriented to promote service of both church and world through encouraging all members of the community in development of their "diverse professional, social, and religious roles."[i] The college strives to be a community demonstrating the highest standards of the Catholic intellectual tradition and welcoming all people into a dialogue to promote core values of truth, respect, responsibility, excellence, and service.
Interfaith Prayer Space
A safe and private space for spiritual and religious activities is one of the simplest, but most vital forms of support Loras can offer its students. The Interfaith prayer space opened in 2014 in the Alumni Campus Center, providing a sanctuary where people of all faiths, religious and non-religious traditions may retreat for prayer, meditation and spiritual activities. The location is available from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, in a safe, well-monitored location and also provides a venue for education surrounding the importance of sacred spaces in all traditions.
Several classes offered to all Loras College students explore the differences and similarities between faith traditions. Examples include Jesus and Ghandi
and Islam in America
Better Together Student Organization
Better Together is a national student organization that plans events, dialogues, and service opportunities for interfaith action. The campaign consists of student-led events that create space for people to voice their values, engage with people across lines of religious difference, and act together to make a better world. The organization is affiliated with the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC
) out of Chicago, Illinois.
Children of Abraham Series
The Children of Abraham program, a series of conversations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, facilitated by community faith leaders and faculty member Dr. John Eby. Each conversation is focused on a specific topic, ranging from various prophets (Abraham, Moses) to the understanding of God to dimensions of experience (conversion, suffering) to social concepts and behaviors (peace, discrimination). Following the gospel principle of “love your neighbor as yourself,” and oriented toward peace-building through nurturing relationships between people, the Children of Abraham program emphasizes listening and learning and does not involve debate or any attempt at persuasion. A schedule of discussions can be found at the Children of Abraham site
Loras invites the imam at the Tri-State Islamic Center to come to campus to lead a discussion of the Qur'an for anyone from campus or the Dubuque community who wishes to participate. The sessions involve hearing the text translated (also with written translations on hand) and then explained from the Muslim perspective, followed by questions and discussion. The purpose of the sessions is to expose participants to a different perspective that provides depth of understanding through repeated experience and sympathy through personal experience. Attendance is typically small, which allows for the development of strong and meaningful relationships.
Festival of Lights
Loras College Campus Ministry, the Intercultural Programs office, Loras Intercultural Student Association, and Better Together President’s Interfaith Challenge host a Festival of Lights commemorating five cultural and religious expressions that celebrate light, near the Christmas season. Students, faculty, staff, and the Dubuque community have had the opportunity to learn the Mexican celebration, Our Lady of Guadalupe; the Jewish Hanukka ; the Eastern Orthodox Christian celebration of Feast of Theophany; the Deepawali, a five-day celebration in Nepal; and El Dia de las Velitas (The day of the candles) from Colombia.