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Sr. Joan McGuire, O.P. was the Director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and is now retired. She has been engaged in ecumenical and interreligious relations in the Archdiocese since 1987. Sr. McGuire is a member of the newly merged Dominican Sisters of Peace.

Monday, September 05, 2011

September 11: A Time for Interreligious Remembering and Observing

As the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches, our thoughts go back to that day ten years ago. Gathered with others around a TV at the Pastoral Center on Superior Street, I remember especially the concern of Joan Maxwell until she heard that her son, who often conducted business at the Trade Center, was safe. Throughout the day people prayed for those who were not safe or were suffering: the victims, their loved ones and the responders.

On September 11, 2011, we have opportunities to once again be in solidarity and remembrance with one another - personally, in our homes, neighborhoods and religious and civic communities.

During the days, months and years following the sorrowful events of 9/11, there have been increased commitments among the many religious communities in the Chicago area to engage in deepening and strengthening their previous ongoing relationships.

A witness to these interreligious engagements is the candlelight, city-wide interreligious service co-hosted by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC) and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIO-GC). This Evening of Remembrance on Saturday evening, September 10, 2011 from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM at Daley Plaza will be a Remembrance of the victims; Recognition of the responders and Renewal of commitments to seek healing and reconciliation. Cardinal George is a member of the CRLMC and regularly attends the annual interfaith iftar dinners hosted by the CIO-GC.

It is not only interreligious leaders but also people in neighborhoods and local places of worship who are holding special services. On Sunday morning, September 11, 2011, at 9:15-10:30 a.m., the Marquette Park community will gather on the steps of St. Rita of Cascia Church, 6243 South Fairfield Avenue for a Day of Remembrance and Solidarity.

Four neighboring places of worship: Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago Sinai Congregation, Holy Name Cathedral and the Downtown Islamic Center will commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 East Chestnut Street on Sunday evening, September 11, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. The service will also feature the premiere of the choral work “Voices of Peace” commissioned by the four congregations for this occasion.

It seems evident that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will find many of the people in the Chicago area and our country united in prayer, remembrance and solidarity. For this blessing, let us be grateful.

Catholics have a particular reason to be grateful. Forty-five years ago the Second Vatican Council issued Nostra Aetate. This official teaching of the Church urges Catholics to “enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions.” In addition, we are "to acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians as well as their social life and culture." (NA.2)

The English translation of the first four words of Nostra Aetate is “in this our age”. The gift and challenge of “our age” is to heed the words of this prophetic document.

Contacts:

For relevant ecumenical and interreligious resources and activities, see www.archchicago.org/departments/ecumenical.

For more information on the CRLMC/CIO-GC Evening of Remembrance contact the CRLMC office at 312 504-3582.

For more information on the Marquette Park service contact 773 434 9600.

For more information on the service at Fourth Presbyterian Church, please contact Rev. Joyce Shin jshin@fourthchurch.org.

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