Interfaith community welcomes Bishop Matano - Catholic Courier

Interfaith community welcomes Bishop Matano

GATES — Representatives from a number of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith communities in the Rochester area gathered Feb. 27 at the diocesan Pastoral Center to welcome Bishop Salvatore R. Matano and share with him some background on local interfaith relations.

Interfaith collaboration began in the Rochester area in the late 1930s and has been going strong ever since, noted Joseph Kelly, retired professor of religious studies at Nazareth College in Pittsford.

"We have a rich history of this, and we are delighted that you have invited us to share that with you," Kelly told Bishop Matano during the gathering.

"For all of us with the interfaith community, it’s a new page of history which is opening up, and we’re looking forward to the future with you," added Bernard Grizard, director of the diocesan Office of Parish and Clergy Services, which hosted the reception.

Grizard introduced the nine members of the Interfaith Advisory Board to Bishop Matano, and then three members gave short presentations about the Diocese of Rochester’s three main areas of involvement in interfaith efforts. The diocese entered into the historic Rochester Agreement with the Rochester Board of Rabbis and the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester in 1996, when the three communities pledged to work together to promote understanding of both faiths and combat religious intolerance and prejudice. In 2003 the diocese entered a similar agreement with the local Muslim community when it entered into the Muslim Catholic Agreement with the Council of Masajid (Mosques) of Rochester.

Local Catholics and diocesan officials also have played a big role in the work of the Greater Rochester Community of Churches/Faith In Action Network, and seven of the organization’s 28 current board members are Catholic, noted one of those board members, Marvin Mich, who also is the director of social policy and research for Rochester’s Catholic Family Center.

It takes courage and a genuine love for others and for their faith for individuals to engage in interfaith dialogue, noted Bishop Matano.

"When you really love someone you want to share with the person the truth of who you are, the truth about what really matters in your life, the truth about how you are identified," he said. "I think all of us here this night truly believe that who we are, what motivates us, what characterizes and describes us, this is our relationship with God and our faith. Certainly in ecumenism we tell the truth about who we are, but we tell the truth in charity, in humility and with a genuine desire to help others know us better."


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