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the iona preparatory interfaith society

Iona Preparatory School

2005-2006

 

website: the postmodern catholic:    marking31@tripod.com

Mark King:                                                mtk04@ionaprep.org

                                                                   Ext. 340

 

The Iona Prep Inter-Faith Society is created with the intent of developing student’s Roman Catholic identity in the context of our religiously pluralistic world.

 

Origins and Motivations: The Inter-Faith Society has grown out of my research as a doctoral candidate at Fordham University and represents a practical application of my dissertation that focuses on developing more interreligious forms of religious education and developing a mature Roman Catholic identity that is more universal, relational and open to the religious Other.

 

Goals:

  • To cultivate an experiential awareness of the presence of God both within one’s self, the world, and specifically in the Stranger, or the religious Other
  • To rediscover and refashion an authentic Christian mystical-contemplative tradition and practice in the forms of contemplative prayer and meditation.
  • This will be combined with directed reading of Scripture 
  • To “cross over” in sympathetic yet critical understanding with the purpose of gaining a deeper appreciation for the religious Other and, as a result, gain a deeper sense of what it means to be a Roman Catholic living in our contemporary world.
  • Not a watered-down version of Catholicism that minimizes the differences between religious traditions in search of the lowest common denominator regarding belief and practice.
  • Such practices in prayer and meditation are viewed as essential for the spiritual health of the program and its members and is the foundation of the religious education project.  This spiritual grounding allows room for a meaningful presence of the religious Other, both within and without, and help manifest the Christ already present within each of us.   

 

Further Descriptions:

  • Meetings of relevant topics will be examined from different faith-perspectives.
  • Joint-prayer and meditation sessions; trips to various religious sites, topical seminars, and, eventually, joint social activist projects within the wider community will be designed to promote a more interreligious styles of being Roman Catholic.
  • It is hoped guest speakers will be brought to Iona to give presentations and lead discussions on relevant topics.  It is further hoped that trips can be organized where Iona members would travel to surrounding schools, synagogues, mosques, temples etc. 
  • This teacher is presently contacting different persons in the Iona College Christian-Jewish Society, the Muslim Cultural Center in Manhattan, NY, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement at Greymoor in Garrison, NY, as well as the Chuang Yen Buddhist Monastery in Kent, NY.  The goal is to facilitate relations and to brainstorm on possible topics, venues, projects, trips, etc.  This is a project that will be evolving and most likely take a couple of years to fully develop.
  • This proposed extra-curricular society is composed of students, teachers, and anyone else in the Iona Prep community interested in furthering their knowledge of other religious traditions, with the further purpose of better understanding their Roman Catholic faith. 

 

Conclusion: It is suggested that such a society follows in the best of the prophetic tradition, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Catholic contemplative tradition.  It is also presented as being in line with both the documents of Vatican II and the subsequent catechetical documents that have since followed. It is further hoped that any Brother, Iona Prep teacher or other adult in the community who has an area of special interest or personal experiences related to their Catholic faith, would be willing to lead a talk on a specific topic.  

 

Considering the present situation of the world where religious beliefs are increasingly used to justify violent, destructive behavior, the increasing relevance of religious issues on the world stage, the author asserts that the development of such interreligious forms of religious education is essential if we are to be socially responsible, well-informed Catholics.     

 

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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton