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Living Our Mission: All Faith Service is a Call to Unity

Living Our Mission: All Faith Service is a Call to Unity

In 1994, Monsignor I. Brent Egan invited a few colleagues from other faith traditions to speak on campus. It hardly seemed like the spark of a treasured USD tradition.

For 23 years, the All Faith Service has been the de facto launch of the spring semester and a chance for the USD community to celebrate the myriad spiritual paths that lead to the same destination. The 2017 iteration, “A Call to Unity: Living with an Open Heart,” will start just after noon on Feb. 2, but really began long before that.

“It is our way to show respect for the individual religious traditions represented in its community,” says Sr. Virginia Rodee, RSCJ.

The list of people more qualified than Sr. Gina to speak to “our way” at the University of San Diego is short. She joined the Religious of the Sacred Heart soon after graduating the San Diego College for Women in 1957 and for more than a decade has been USD’s assistant vice president of mission and ministry. She says the All Faith Service is integral to the university’s Catholic identity.

“The Catholic Church acknowledges what is true and holy,” Sr. Gina says. “Though beliefs differ, the Church realizes that these faith traditions reflect, through different lenses, truths which enlighten all peoples.”

USD President Jim Harris says the service, which in the past has included a Hindu dance, a Buddhist chant, a Christian hymn, a Jewish blessing and a reflection by a local imam as part of one program, also reflects the Church’s ancient commitment to higher education.

“We know that in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, Catholic scholars were influential in the university concept with the goal of pursuing all types of learning,” Harris says. “Our faith tradition has supported exploration and appreciation of Islamic and Jewish scholars who recognized that God is truth, and therefore doors are open to raise honest questions and to search out truth in all areas and from all sources.”

The 2017 All Faith Service, "A Call to Unity: Living with an Open Heart," takes place on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 12:15 p.m. in Camino Hall’s Shiley Theater.

— Timothy McKernan

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