Catholics, Muslims to hold joint educational sessions - Catholic Courier

Catholics, Muslims to hold joint educational sessions

Catholics and Muslims are teaming for a series of gatherings to explore how their respective faiths address such topics as childbirth and conception, major rites of passage, sexuality, marriage, divorce, aging, death and the afterlife.

Beginnings and Endings as Seen through Muslim and Catholic Eyes will run on the following Wednesdays: Sept 8, 15, 22, 29 and Oct 6. All sessions are free and open to the public, and run from 7:30-9 p.m. At each session, a Muslim and a Catholic will make presentations; audience participation and dialogue will be encouraged.

The Sept. 8, 15 and 22 sessions will be held at the Bishop Dennis W. Hickey Conference Center at the diocesan Pastoral Center, 1150 Buffalo Road, Gates; the last two sessions will be held at the Islamic Center of Rochester, 727 Westfall Road, Brighton.

The following is a schedule of session dates and topics to be discussed:

* Sept. 8: “Conception and Childhood” — Attitudes of Islam and Catholic Christianity about life in the womb, abortion, children and child rearing and the role of informed conscience.

* Sept. 15: “Youth and Growing Up” — Catholic and Muslim views on education of the young; balancing discipline with permissiveness; rites of passage; handling emerging sexuality and gender issues; handling conflicts with surrounding culture; religious education; and conscience formation.

* Sept. 22:Marriage” — Muslim and Catholic beliefs on the purpose and meaning of marriage; connection between marriage and the larger community; rites and their meaning; divorce.

* Sept. 29: “Aging, Dying, and Death” — Two faiths’ views on the aging process, illness, loss, incapacity, end-of-life issues, funeral rites and mourning.

* Oct. 6: “The Afterlife” — Beliefs of Islam and Catholicism about the life to come and how those beliefs affect the present.

The series is sponsored by the Muslim-Catholic Alliance, the committee appointed to oversee implementation of the Muslim-Catholic Agreement of Understanding signed by the Diocese of Rochester and Islamic officials in May 2003.

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