Honoring the precedent set by Jesus in the Good Samaritan parable, grounded in Vatican II’s teachings and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Loras understands interfaith engagement to be an essential component of its embrace of universal human dignity.
In our Catholic context, interfaith practice enhances reverence for God, other people, and creation through creative rituals for prayer and celebration that call us as a community toward promoting a more just and peaceful society. Ultimately, the College uses interfaith resources to explore expressions of the way people can “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Bridging Interfaith and Catholicism
As part of Loras’ identity as a Catholic institution, the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra Aetate declares, “The Catholic Church rejects nothing true and holy in [other] religions. She sincerely reveres those ways of conduct and 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).
Loras also finds guidance from approaches within the Catholic intellectual tradition that boldly argues that interfaith understanding is needed to help preserve the kind of peaceful coexistence necessary to promote the life and dignity of all, especially the marginalized. The college deeply values those moments in Catholic tradition when the Church built collaborative relationships across historic boundaries and sought to foster the common good through curiosity, dialogue, debate, and action.
Student & Community Engagement
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 Interfaith America <link> out of Chicago, Illinois.
Children of Abraham Series
The Children of Abraham program, a series of conversations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, is 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.
Loras invites the Tri-State Islamic Center imam 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 (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.
Interfaith Leaders Scholarship
Our Interfaith Leaders Scholarship allows you to explore how people orient around religion differently and discover your ability to interact with people of diverse religious and worldview backgrounds.
Through careful study, self-reflection, and responsible service, students will learn to lead others toward a deeper, more informed fellowship.
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.
President’s Award for Interfaith Community Service
Loras College received the nation’s first President’s Award for Interfaith Community Service from the Corporation for National and Community Service. This nationwide designation is part of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and recognizes Loras and its students for their commitment to volunteer service.
- Jesus and Gandhi course that travels to India
- Interfaith Leadership Institute
- Sacred Spaces tour Dubuque, Chicago, Madison
- Celebrating different holy days
- Attending the interfaith leadership institute