Commission for Ecumenism & Interfaith Dialogue

Strong Parish showing at Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism Seminar


Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism Seminar
Mijo Lovriuovic (left), Annette Tan, Imam Afroz Ali, Fr Herman Roborgh and Fr Gerard Kelly at the Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism Seminar.

Representatives from more than 40 Parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta have attended an Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism Seminar on Saturday 4 September.

Organised by the Diocesan Commission for Ecumemism & Interfaith Dialogue and held at the Institute For Mission in Blacktown, the seminar was opened in prayer by Mrs Colleen Fuller.

The phenomenon of Islamic Sufism was considered in the first session of the day, led by Fr Herman Roborgh and Imam Afroz Ali of the Al-Ghazzali Centre in Lakemba. With the help of PowerPoint presentation, Fr Herman - a member of the Diocesan Commission and a specialist in Christian-Islamic dialogue - explained some key texts which related to Sufism. Sufism can be thought of as an intensification of the religious life of Muslims, with many parallels between it and Christian Mysticism.

Imam Afroz Ali spoke of Sufism as a state of God-consciousness and said that all Muslims were called to strive to follow the uphill path to a closer relationship with God. It was incorrect, he said, to think of Muslims as either being sufis or non-sufis.

The second part of the morning saw a focus on Christian Ecumenism, with Fr Gerard Kelly of the Catholic Institute of Sydney leading a discussion on eucharistic hospitality and intercommunion. He outlined the position of the various Christian churches and identified the theological issues involved.

The post-lunch session was devoted to Deanery reports and a discussion of creative ways of furthering ecumenism and interfaith dialogue in Parishes throughout the Diocese.


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