Catholic Community Connection (CCC) 2018 Summer Fellows Program kicked off the Fellows Fridays on June 15 at Notre Dame College.

Sr. Carol Ziegler, SND, Ph.D. (from Boston College), Chief Mission Officer and Executive Director of the Abrahamic Center, presented on Interfaith Awareness and Zen Meditation.

Sr. Carol’s presentation focused on the five main world religions in the order of their development: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. She shared the names and images of God valued and used in each tradition and the meanings associated with the name for that particular religion. The fellows came to recognize that Hinduism does understand itself as a monotheistic tradition like Catholics, Jews and Muslims. The group considered a few of the 99 names for Allah, taken from the Qur’an. Judaism evidences deep respect for the name of God and often uses words or phrases that emphasize qualities of God, i.e., “Ein Sof” (Without End), and “HaMaqom” (The Place.) The Fellows were asked to share a name for God that helps them enter prayer.

Sr. Carol focused on each tradition’s understanding and practice of concern for the poor and marginalized.
The fellows saw that each religious tradition is aware of its responsibility for those in need. Many of the interfaith communities use the practice of tithing to support the poor. Sr. Carol cited the Catholic examples of the Good Samaritan and the principals of Catholic Social Teaching, including respect for all life, solidarity with the poor, and care for all of creation as vibrant examples of our tradition’s living the gospel of Jesus in the world today.

Fellows were encouraged to join the conversation and share thoughts and ideas throughout the presentation.

As a trained Zen meditation instructor, Sr. Carol proceeded to lead the students through a meditation (similar to centering prayer in the Catholic tradition or Mindfulness Meditation in the broader health and civic community.) The guided meditation and deep quiet awakened us all to the power of contemplative prayer.

CCC 2018 Summer Fellow Tom McCartney, a recent John Carroll University graduate, commented “it was wonderful to see how many practices overlap in the different world religions. The experience was informative and centering; I am very glad to have participated.”

Sr. Carol noted, “The Summer Fellows are amazing young adults serving as powerful examples of the work in our Catholic Colleges in the Cleveland Diocese. Clearly, each fellow is making significant contributions in his/her assigned institution or business. What a gift to work with them.”