As Pope Benedict XVI begins his May 8-15 visit to the Holy Land, the Jewish and Catholic communities in Rochester praised the papal trip as “a clear and visible sign of the ongoing commitment on the part of Jewish and Catholic people internationally to seek common ground and nurture better, deeper relationships.”
In a joint statement released May 8, the Jewish Community Federation and the Diocese of Rochester also pointed to the fact that the local Jewish and Catholic communities continue to work together toward this same end.
“Our historic and unique Rochester Agreement, signed in 1996 by Bishop Matthew Clark and other Catholic officials, the Jewish Community Federation and the Rochester Board of Rabbis, has paved the way for tremendously vital co-educational programs and interfaith work,” the statement said. “The agreement led directly to a special, historic interfaith study trip to Israel in 1998 and to the Vatican in 2006, as well as joint study of Scriptures and community work.”
In addition, the Brennan-Goldman Institute for Jewish-Catholic Studies was established at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, honoring the work of the late Father Joseph Brennan and of Isobel Goldman, the JFC’s community-relations director, the statement said. This summer, the institute will host the internationally recognized Bettina and Erwin Pearl Bearing Witness Institute for Catholic educators and parish faith-formation and youth ministers to study the Holocaust and its implications in teaching and moving forward.
“It is our mutual prayer that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit will inspire other communities and other Jewish and Catholic people — indeed the whole world — toward greater mutual respect and a recognition that we are one humanity,” the statement said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on local Jewish-Catholic relations, contact Isobel Goldman of the Jewish Community Federation at 585-461-0491, or Deacon John Brasley of the diocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at 585-328-3210.