Upcoming Parliament of the World's Religions offers Catholics spiritual, volunteer opportunities

Friday, Sep. 04, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY — The Parliament of the World’s Religions will host a conference in Salt Lake City at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center Oct. 15-19, it is expected to bring 10,000 people from across the world; the keynote speaker is His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Among the many other speakers are Dr. Karen Armstrong, Terry Tempest Williams, Marianne Williamson and Dr. Arun Gandhi. 
A Vigil Mass on Oct. 17 at the Cathedral of the Madeleine will be celebrated. At that Mass, Benedictine Father William Skudlarek, Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, will be the principle celebrant, and Father Don Rooney, President of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers, will be the homilist.
The international conference, which is the oldest, largest and most inclusive gathering of people of all faith traditions, according to the organization’s website, began in Chicago in 1893. It reconvened in Chicago in 1993; subsequent parliments have been held in Cape Town, South Africa in 1999; Barcelona, Spain in 2004; and Melbourne, Australia in 2009, with the mission to “cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world,” according to the website. 
This year’s conference in Salt Lake City will focus on addressing care for God’s creation; war, terrorism and hatred; and the widening wealth gap. In addition, it will offer world-renown religious music, films and performances. 
The event will provide the opportunity to encounter people of various religious and spiritual traditions, to experience their sacred rituals and to learn about their beliefs. 
Many interreligious activities will take place, including a series of Catholic sessions about the Church’s teachings on interreligious dialogue, how to foster Catholic interreligious dialogue in local parishes and communities and a presentation on Pope Francis’ “Dialogue of Fraternity.” 
People are invited to attend daily Catholic hospitality receptions, as well as participate in a space that will be available for all Christians to come together in prayer. 
“The faith space will have scheduled events throughout the day in which people can participate, such as morning prayer, noon Liturgy of the Hours, a Christian prayer service or a reflection by a local pastor,” said Pamela Avery, a lay ecclesial minister and member of Saint Ambrose Parish, who would also like to have a video that highlights the theme of the human condition around the world. 
Avery is collaborating with other churches in the Salt Lake Valley to organize these ecumenical experiences, and is seeking volunteers to facilitate the Christian faith space, and to conduct ecumenical prayer services, as well as decorate the space to reflect a Christian environment.
For information about volunteering for the Christian shared faith space, contact Pam Avery at 801-809-5557 or pam_avery@comcast.net.
To register for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, visit http://www.parliamentofreligions.org.

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