International Congress on Pope Francis and Interreligious Dialogue
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the pontificate of Francis, Seton Hall University faculty and students will present their research, teaching, and field experience at a major international congress at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.
The conference, to be held on March 14, is titled “An Openness in Truth and in Love: Pope Francis and Interreligious Dialogue.” Joining colleagues from around the world and representing various faith traditions, Seton Hall’s participants will present their work and engage in discussions on the history and theology of religious dialogue, interreligious dialogue and Pope Francis, interreligious dialogue in action, and interreligious fraternity and education in the papacy of Francis.
As a sponsor of the congress, Seton Hall joins a distinguished international group of institutions and organizations: the Pontifical Urbaniana University, the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), and the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue.
At the congress, Ines Murzaku, Ph.D., Director of the Catholic Studies Program and Professor of Religion, will speak about the Catholic university as a place of interreligious encounter. Prof. Murzaku has a special interest and expertise in how interreligious dialogue at Catholic universities can help to bring about peace, and her talk, taking place early in the program, will help set the stage for the subsequent discussions of the practical implications of Pope Francis’ dedication to promoting interreligious dialogue.
Highlighting best practices developed at Seton Hall, Rabbi Alan Brill, Ph.D., Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Religion; Anthony Nicotera, J.D., D.S.W., Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, and Dawn Apgar, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice, will share their perspectives in the panel “Interreligious Dialogue in Action.” The day will conclude with the student panel, led by Kennedy Dierks ’23, a pre-medical student double-majoring in Biology and Catholic Studies. Her interests and undergraduate studies have focused on the areas of intersection between faith and science. She shared the value she believes to lie at the heart of her interdisciplinary education: “Engaging in such different realms of study throughout my time has prepared me to have conversations about topics and subjects that may not seem alike at first, but come together to form beautiful ideas. I am excited to engage in interreligious dialogue and share my unique perspective with other students, faculty, and intellectuals and continue to engage in conversations that broaden both my mind and spirit.”
“While we as faculty are proud to share our own research and experience at a significant international congress,” said Prof. Murzaku, “our main purpose in all we do remains: we are here to educate our students—to prepare them for life after graduation, and to help them live fully now, while they study. It is a true testament to our programs that Kennedy is coordinating the student panel at this major event, and that two more of our students are also participating.”
On the student panel, Dierks will be joined by fellow Pirates Diana Malenkova and Safa Shaikh. The panel will also include students from the Angelicum, Urbaniana, Gregorian, and the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies. As a moderator of this panel, which will put interreligious dialogue into action, Dierks hopes “to emphasize our similarities rather than our differences, while sharing [her] own perspectives on Catholic education at the university level.” She explained, “I also am excited to share about how my faith has grown over the course of my four years at Seton Hall, and how hearing from people of other faiths and academic disciplines has influenced and affirmed that.”
In the true spirit of interreligious dialogue and expressing “openness in truth and in love,” Dierks shared: “I am eager to see what other students enjoy about attending a Catholic institution, or what they feel is missing. I believe that the conference will be an excellent opportunity all around for community, collaboration, and dialogue between people of multiple faith traditions who are, ultimately, all God’s people.”
All members of the University community are invited to log on to the conference on March 14 by accessing the Zoom link here. The meeting ID is 871 1711 4305 and the passcode is 296652.
Categories: Faith and Service