Inside USD

Commonality Through Diversity of Faith

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Shiley Theatre stage was a diverse world of wonder and united knowledge for all present at the University of San Diego’s 19th annual All Faith Service on Thursday.

The early spring semester event, themed “Live, Love, Give: Our Rights and Responsibilities” by the Council of Advancement of Catholic Social Thought for 2012, was expressed through seven faith traditions: Native American, Muslim, Daoist, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu.

“I think there’s so much truth in each of the faith traditions,” said Daniel Valcazar ‘07, a current MBA student and resident minister in Manchester Village. “You can see that it’s so different, yet the foundation is so similar. I was sitting in the second row and being that close to the stage made it that much more powerful.”

The power of the event started with several USD international students marching down both aisles as flag bearers — made more meaningful because they were able to carry their respective country’s flag.

Monsignor Daniel J. Dillabough ‘70 provided the welcome address of the importance of the rights of all people. Dillabough (pictured, right) praised the service work done by the entire USD community, particularly students, to “actively reach out to others in the world.”

Thursday’s ceremony was a chance for people to go beyond what they might know. “The diversity of each of these traditions enriches each of us,” Dillabough said.

Cicilya Kaunang, a senior communication studies major, Alcala Club member and former president of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, was one of several USD students to participate in the special event. Following a Christian reflection by Sister Patricia Cruise, SC, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages, Kaunang delivered a prayer of intercession.

“It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony and I’m honored to be a part of it,” she said. “I think this is a wonderful event for USD to show how welcoming we are to all. It makes me proud to be a student at this university.”

Imam Taha Hassane, the Imam of the Islamic Center of San Diego, presented the Muslim reflection with verses from the Koran. He appreciated the invitation to participate.

“This is a wonderful opportunity, as a Muslim, to reach out to the community and share in the participation of the values of faith,” he said.

Presentations of faith traditions varied. Michael Madrigal, a member of the Cahuilla Tribe from Cahuilla Indian Reservation near Anza, Calif., delivered the Native American Call to Prayer. Venerable Lama Norbu, Venerable Omzed Tenzin and Ani Konchok Dolma performed a Buddhist chant with musical accompaniment and read the “Shower of Blessings.” Scripps Ranch High School senior Shreena Shah (pictured, top left) masterfully performed a Hindu classical dance, “Bhoomi Mangalam.”

The program, which featured musical accompaniment from the Founders Chapel Choir, also featured a Jewish teaching from Rabbi Nadav Caine, USD English Professor Jericho Brown, PhD, delivered an inspired poetry reading of Mary Oliver’s “The Messenger” and USD Theology and Religious Studies Professor Louis Komjathy, PhD, who specializes in Chinese Religions and Comparative Religious Studies, did a narration of an exchange between two daoists called, “The Village of Nothing-Whatsoever.”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to do it. The university went out of its way to include me,” said Komjathy (pictured, left), whose presentation of the Daoist religion was a first for the All Faith Service.

Diverse faith tradition exposure, large and small, is one of many reasons why Mission and Ministry’s Associate Minister, Mary Kruer, enjoys her role in putting this event together each year.

“It’s an opportunity to bring together beauty, faith and truth in one place,” Kruer said. “That’s at the base of everything that we do. It’s a wonderful chance for people to learn and to understand each other better.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

Photos courtesy of Nick Abadilla

  • Share/Bookmark