Ecumenical/Interfaith Calendar of Solidarity

August 15th

We join with our Hindu brothers and sisters and honor their celebration of Krishna Janmashtami, one of the biggest and most important annual festivals in the Hindu world.   August 15th begins a 2-day festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, the personification or incarnation of the divine love of the second person of the Hindu trinity, Vishnu.    

On the first day of the event, called Krishna Ashtami, Hindus rise before dawn to engage in song and prayer in Krishna’s honor. There are dances, rituals and plays to honor and remember this supreme God. 

Some Hindus will fast to honor Krishna Janmashtami.  It is believed that Krishna was born at midnight.  On the second day, called Janam Ashtami, Hindus will break their fast with special and elaborate meals that often contain milk or cheese curds, said to be two of Krishna’s favorite foods.

Hinduism is the third largest and possibly the oldest religion in the world.  Although most Hindus live in India, there are Hindu Temples in many US cities.  So, we celebrate with the Hindu community the personal love of God that Christians have come to know through the incarnation of Jesus.  We join in prayer with them and pray for God’s blessings for our Hindu brothers and sisters during these holy days.

July 31

St. Ignatius of Loyola

We join in celebration with our Jesuit Brothers on the Feast of Saint Ignatius, their patron and founder. Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) was a priest, theologian, and spiritual director who is best remembered and celebrated for two primary gifts to the world – the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Spiritual Exercises.

The Jesuits are a religious order of priests and brothers whose motto is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God). Saint Ignatius directed his followers to abandon some of the traditional forms of the religious life in favor of greater adaptability and mobility. The Society of Jesus was to be an order of men ready to live in any part of the world where there was hope of God’s greater glory and the good of souls. They are principally educators and the Order sponsors a worldwide system of colleges.

The Spiritual Exercises was first published in 1548. It is a system of spirituality with exercises designed to be carried out over a retreat of 28–30 days. Ignatian discernment is still the foundation of most spiritual direction programs.

We acknowledge and thank the Jesuits for their critical ministry today. The Jesuit colleges and universities, high schools as well as middle schools and Cristo Rey schools for children at risk are educating young global citizens who value diversity, who respect the poor, who are dedicated to service, and who care for all creation. They are leaders in justice work and systematically address spirituality at a time when there is less engagement with the institutional churches.

 

Tisha B’Av

We send our prayers to our Jewish brothers and sisters and ask for their prayers. They will celebrate the annual fast day of Tisha B’Av beginning at sundown on Monday, July 31st. It is the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar.

It begins at sunset, when Jews gather in the synagogue to read the Book of Lamentations. Besides fasting, those observing the holiday abstain from additional pleasures: washing, shaving, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Until midday, they sit on the floor or on low stools.

This is a Jewish holy day of remembrance and commemorates the destruction of both the first and second Temple in Jerusalem in the years 586 BCE and 70 CE. In these days of dangerous tension between Israelis and Palestinians over the Temple Mount, we join in prayer for mutual understanding and peace.”