Dialogue in Action at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Josephs:
It is God’s will that people of the book work together for the common good. The following verse from Qur’an explains this very clearly.
“People, we created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (al-Hujurat, 49:13) “
A beautiful example of this collaboration blossomed in the stunning Cathedral Basilica of St. Josephs in San Jose on June 15th, 2016.
People of the book, including Jews, Christians and Muslims came together to celebrate Ramadan and break fast (Iftar) together on the same table and share a meal along with their heritage.
After Father Joseph Benedict welcomed everyone to the Cathedral, he went on to talk about how Christianity considers fasting. Audience then learned about Ramadan and what fasting really means to Muslims through a video presentation by Pacifica. It is to appreciate all the God’s bounties given to us, but only to share with our neighbors and the poor.
Rabi Diane Fisher also explained fasting from the Jewish tradition.
The keynote speaker was Mayor Sam Liccardo. Having grown up in the neighborhood and being a member of the church, he shared how happy and hopeful he was of this gathering. In a time of violence and hatred in the name of religious extremism, he came to the conclusion that peace is attainable only through dialogue, sharing and mutual understanding. He went on to continue to emphasize that City of San Jose has been welcoming a very diverse population and making positive connections through dialogue is key to create a peaceful and prospering city.
The gathering part of the event has concluded with songs from Waseem Rabih and Elina Serias along with Pianist Michael Shatout. North Regional Director of Pacifica Institute Mahmut Altun has recited Muslim’s call to prayer Adhan in a very touching voice. Perfect Cathedral Acoustics simply made all the songs and Adhan magical to listen to. Audince has come to appreciate the beauty of the dialogue as the echoes of songs and Adhan mesmerized them.
As the Adhan marks the time for Iftar, the event then continued with a marvelous dinner prepared and served by Pacifica volunteers. The conversation at each table was vivid and a true implementation of dialogue in action. As people shared the same table, they melted away in the waves of faith with friends from different religions. It was certainly a night to remember for many of us.
The night has concluded with an art show by Ebru artist Hulya Yaatasi. Ebru is a traditional Ottoman Art where the art is first created on water and then transferred to paper. Experienced artist Ms Yaatasi’s performance was charming and sparked a renewed interest in Ebru Art. Interested participants had a lot if fun trying it out and creating very unique Ebru arts of their own.
Filled with hope and love, the night ended with appreciation of Ramadan and sharing the spirit of it with friends and neighbors.
We are grateful to the visionary staff of Cathedral Basilica of St. Josephs to plan and host such a beautiful event and to Pacifica for organizing the dinner and Ebru performance.