"We want to encourage and help students, faculty and staff to practice their faiths here on campus," said Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ, in his welcoming remarks. "It is at the core of our identity at Boston College to support each other's religious beliefs."
The initiative was launched under the auspices of the Office of University Mission and Ministry and organized through Campus Ministry.
Plans for the new worship space evolved through a series of discussions with faculty members and students representing different faiths who said that a place of worship was needed on campus for non-Catholic religious traditions.
The space, renovated from an unused meeting area on the first floor of the building, can accommodate approximately 30 individuals and is outfitted with moveable furniture and storage areas for songbooks and other religious materials. The carpeted, redbrick room is lined with large windows that overlook the grass courtyard at the rear of the building. The space is further illuminated by a series of skylight windows.
(L-R) Ari Shapiro, '01, with Brian Lerman, '03, and Sarah Tierney, '02, recites the Jewish "Prayer to Dedicate a Sanctuary" during the Nov. 3 ceremony dedicating the University's multi-faith worship space. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Director of Campus Ministry James Erps, SJ, led the ceremony and Campus Minister Rev. Howard McLendon read a dedicatory statement that characterized the space as a place of peace, spiritual exploration, reflection and meditation.
Students and faculty from the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths participated in the dedication ceremony. A member of each faith group lit candles and read excerpts from texts important to their traditions.
Audrey Martinez, '01, read selections from the Buddhist tradition, while graduate student Angelique Ruhi represented the Christian community and read from Ephesians I. Vipra Sharma, '01, presented "A Hindu House Blessing" and Ari Shapiro, '01, one of three students representing BC's Jewish community, offered the "Prayer to Dedicate a Sanctuary." Asst. Prof. Qamar-ul Huda (Theology) read the "Recitation of Qur'anic Suras."
Huda, who serves as a faculty advisor to some Muslim students, explained that in the past his students often had to pray in their residence halls or in borrowed space in buildings throughout campus.
"Now Muslim students will be able to gather as a community to pray, which is very important," he said.
Huda said that because the worship space is shared, the benefit to the wider community could have wider implications.
"This is going to be a great place for all the faith traditions on campus to come together and think about how we can help one another in faith-related activities," he said. "This is very important for a school like BC that is concerned with the spiritual development of its students, faculty and staff."
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