By: Lydia Rogers ~Campus News Editor~
This year, Xavier commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate, a seminal Catholic Church document that emphasizes the importance of cooperation among people of different faiths for the benefit of society. To celebrate this document, Xavier presents “The Interfaith Initiative: Caring
and Celebrating 50 Years with 50 Service Projects.” Implemented in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, Nostra Aetate serves as the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions and is a teaching directly tied to the values of the Jesuit tradition.
“The Nostra Aetate changed Catholic Jewish relations to their core,”
Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community
Engagement, said. “A new atmosphere was created to celebrate interfaith and its potential to enhance both Judaism and the Catholic Church.”
This event will bring together groups of youth and young adults from a variety of faith traditions to form an interfaith working group with the purpose of engaging in a community service activity. It will give students the chance to expand on Xavier’s commitment to community engagement and mission of forming men and women for others.
The type of service activity is still open. Ideally, the activity will work with issues that impact the underserved, such as poverty, disabled individuals and refugees. Ultimately, the activity is meant to make a difference, regardless how small, for the regional community.
“The 50 Years with 50 Projects initiative is not just about celebrating the past; it is about planting seeds for the future,” Ingber said. “As Xavier student communities come together to imagine and create these projects, the American world will take notice of the seeds we are planting for the future.” Each combined group will be eligible to receive up to $500, which will be provided by an anonymous donor, to put towards its service project.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, Hebrew Union College-Institute of Religion and The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati support of the project.
Xavier students of all faiths and religious backgrounds are encouraged to apply to and participate in “The Interfaith Initiative.” Application reviews begin Feb. 1 and will continue until 50 projects have been selected. The service projects should take place between March 1, 2015 and Jan. 23, 2016.
All participants will have the opportunity to showcase their projects during the “Interfaith Initiative Fair” on Jan. 24, 2016.