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We are Catholic. All are welcome.
Our diverse community of different faiths (Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and more) affords us with unique opportunities to learn more about the world from others as our Benedictine hallmarks call us to. Our Interfaith Prayer Room is located in Kindlon Hall 136/137 and is a space for prayer, meditation and contemplation.
The following information is meant to give the Benedictine community background on our many faith communities, to promote greater understanding of religious needs and observances of our students, faculty and staff, and how the University works to provide an educational experience that is accepting and respectful to all.
Please click here to learn of upcoming religious holidays and celebrations.
Buddhism is a nontheistic religion founded on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha. The purpose of one’s life is found in attaining enlightenment. Buddhism stresses the importance of self-awareness and virtuous living.
Sutras are the collected oral teachings of the Buddha.
There are three denominations within Buddhism and each focuses on a different aspect: right thought, right speech and right action. Buddhism as a whole emphasizes the reality of suffering in life and the ability to transcend suffering through enlightenment.
Central to the Buddhist tradition is meditation. It is through the simple act of meditation that one may achieve enlightenment. Buddhists occasionally gather at temples where the focus is either on silent meditation or teachings by a priest, monk or nun. Chanting and offerings of incense are also included in worship.
Christianity dates back to the first century and is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christianity has three main branches of belief and practice: Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Christians worship one God as the Holy Trinity, consisting of the Father (creator of the universe), Jesus Christ (the savior of the world) and the Holy Spirit (which has worked to sanctify and transform lives throughout history and continues to do so today).
The Catholic Church has communities around the globe. Its governing center is Vatican City in Rome, Italy. The Pope is recognized as the leader of the Catholic Church. In addition to the Roman Catholic Church, there are many other Catholic Churches in “full communion” with Rome. Some smaller, independent Catholic Churches exist without recognizing the authority of the Pope.
The Holy Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The Catholic and Orthodox traditions also include seven apocryphal books.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church: While not considered scripture or divinely inspired in the same way, the Catechism contains the entire listing of Catholic beliefs. It is structured around the creed, the sacraments, Christian life and prayer.
The life of the Catholic church revolves around the church calendar known as the Liturgical Calendar. The seasons are: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Triduum, and Easter. They ranger from three days to several months in length. Many other customs are unique to the geographical area and ethnic background of the people celebrating.
Christians traditionally gather to worship in churches on Sundays. See Mass above.
There are countless written prayers and forms of prayer in Catholicism. The most common written prayers are “The Lord’s Prayer,” “Hail Mary,” “Glory Be” and “The Rosary,” which contains all three and more. Prayer can also be exercised in meditation, or contemplation, with scripture or music, in the presence of the Eucharist, in ritual, with others or alone, and in any space.
A common prayer is the “Liturgy of the Hours,” created as a way to pray the Psalms at specific, different times during the day. Most religious orders pray the Liturgy of the Hours together.
Catholic Social Teaching calls to serve each other and the less fortunate, and to work for just systems that end oppression. Many Catholics volunteer on a regular basis with an organization or do different projects with their faith groups. The seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching are:
Hinduism is a monotheistic religion that believes in God as the one source, having numerous manifestations. As a divine being, God transcends every being and object, and one’s purpose in life is to become aware of the divine. Worship rituals and meditative practices within Hinduism are intended to lead the soul toward direct experience of God or self.
Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.
Because of Hinduism’s emphasis on human beings having a right relationship with the world around them, many Hindus are vegetarian. Food is categorized as sattvic (pure food, such as fruits, vegetables and milk), rajasic food (heavy, dark food, such as meats, spices and fried foods) and tamasic food (lethargic, slow food, such as alcoholic beverages). Cows and other animals are held as sacred and are not slaughtered for consumption.
Hindu temples are understood to be the residence of a particular god(s) or goddess(es). The main image of the deity is kept in the center of a small room (puja room) or in a mandir, where devotees are invited to worship the deity through prayer and offerings. Prayers include chanting mantras, meditation and sometimes yoga. The Interfaith Prayer Room at Benedictine University holds a mandir for Hindu students to use in prayer and meditation.
Atheists do not believe in any gods or the supernatural. Humanists emphasize the common humanity of all, placing moral values solely within the human realm and not the divine. Moral and social uplift occurs by the efforts of human beings.
Though they do not believe in god(s) or the supernatural, those who identify as atheists or humanists sometimes will gather in community with one another for fellowship and discussion. In the Interfaith Prayer Room in Kindlon Hall, Room 136, a book of reflections and poems is available to students who do not identify with a religious tradition but would still benefit from a resource and space in which they can meditate and reflect.
We encourage all Benedictine community members – students, staff and visitors – outside of the Islamic faith to review this information to help in our larger mission of promoting mutual respect and understanding for all religious groups represented on campus.
This website serves as a primer on Islam, its traditions and sensitivities. Please note that it represents an overview of mainstream Islam only and that there may be other schools of thought or variations of details within the religion not mentioned here.
In Islam, there are Five Pillars.
In Islam, there are six articles of faith know as "Iman." They are:
The Jewish people have been in existence for some 4000 years, and consider the Biblical patriarch Abraham to be the first Jewish person. In the Jewish story, God created a covenant with the Jewish people, first with Abraham, and then reiterated with Abraham’s descendants, all the way to Moses. In this covenant, the Jewish people agreed to follow God’s ways and do what is just and right (see Genesis 18:19), and in return, God promised to make the Jewish people numerous and a blessing to the rest of the world, and to give them the Promised Land (see Genesis 12:1-3).
According to the Biblical Book of Exodus, God made a major statement of this covenant to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and gave the Jewish people the Torah (see Exodus 20). Ever since that time, Jews have upheld this covenant through living out the Torah, following the commandments within the Torah as guidelines for living a moral and ethical life. What binds Jews together is not a common required set of beliefs, but rather a common set of behaviors, and the attitude that all Jews are members of the same extended family.
Despite there not being a required set of Jewish beliefs, many Jews embrace these traditional Jewish theological ideas:
The Hebrew Bible is the sacred text of the Jewish people. It contains three parts: The Torah, the Books of the Prophets (examples include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Zechariah, Malachi), and the Writings (examples include the Psalms, the Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Ruth, Job, Chronicles). Christians have come to call the Hebrew Bible the “Old Testament,” but Jews prefer the term “Hebrew Bible,” or the term “Tanach,” which is a Hebrew acronym representing the three parts of the Hebrew Bible.
However, Judaism--its rituals, customs, and ethical teachings--continued to evolve after the completion of the Hebrew Bible, and its evolution is reflected in the volumes of the Mishnah and the Talmud, composed by the great sages and rabbis of Judaism from about 200 BCE to 500 CE. This evolution continued into the Middle Ages with influential texts by Jewish commentators Rashi, Maimonides, Nachmanides, Joseph Karo, and others, and into modern times with rabbis contributing “responsa,” or religious responses to ethical questions arising from contemporary society, on such topics as organ transplants, civil rights, and gender equality.
The traditional Jewish way of life is concerned with making ordinary moments and ordinary things holy. Jews try to infuse Godliness into ordinary aspects of life. God is viewed as ever-present, and it is the role of Jewish people to live life in constant acknowledgement of God’s presence and blessings. Many Jewish customs are centered on creating this feeling of everyday holiness:
Christianity dates back to the first century and is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christianity has three main branches of belief and practice: Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Christians worship one God as the Holy Trinity, consisting of the Father (creator of the universe), Jesus Christ (the savior of the world), and the Holy Spirit (which has worked to sanctify and transform lives throughout history and continues to do so today).
The Orthodox church, or the Eastern half of the Christian church, split with the Roman Catholic Church in 1054 A.D. Orthodox Christians are incredibly diverse, and among the nationalities and cultures represented are Antiochian, Carpatho-Russian, Greek, Romanian, Russian, Serbian and Ukrainian.
The Holy Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Catholic and Orthodox traditions also include seven apocryphal books.
The life of the Orthodox church revolves arond the church calendar, and each day is dedicated to a particular saint. Some Orthodox Christians follow the Julian calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar, meaning that some Christian feast days like Easter and Christmas, fall on different days than Catholic or Protestant observances.
Worship is a central feature of the Orthodox Christian faith. The liturgy in the Orthodox church is transcendent, meant to take the worshiper to the heavenly realm with God. Worship services also emphasize the nearness of God who became incarnate in Jesus Christ.
Orthodox liturgy is spoken in the native language of the particular community, and is rooted in ancient tradition.
Christianity dates back to the first century and is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christianity has three main branches of belief and practice: Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Christians worship one God as the Holy Trinity, consister of the Father (creator of the universe), Jesus Christ (the savior of the world) and the Holy Spirit (which has worked to sanctify and transform lives throughout history and continues to do so today).
The Protestant church formed in the 16th century, separating from the Roman Catholic Church over disputes about faith and justification. The Protestant church is further divided into denominations, including (but not limited to) Presbyterian, Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist and Wesleyan. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Mormon Church, is another branch of Christianity that was founded in the United States in 1829 by Joseph Smith.
The Old Testament or Hebrew Bible contains the Torah (the first five books, also called the Law, include Genesis, Exodux, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), as well as histories, psalms adn proverbs, poetry and prophets.
The New Testament contains the Gospels, (the story of Jesus' life, includes Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) the Acts of the Apostles, and the episles of disciples.
There is great variety of traditions and customs within the Protestant Church, and Protestants celebrate majory holidarys including Christmas and Easter. Protestant churches on the whole value democratic order within the church, and more function independently of one another. Protestant denomincations grow and change rapdily, and it is estimated that there are currently around 40,000 denominations worldwide.
Protestant Christians gather for traditional worship services on Sunday. There is a great variety in worship expression within the Protestant church, but central to most services is the proclamation of the Bible, a sermon, hymn singing, prayer, and regular communion.
Service to others is an essential teaching of Christianity, and all Christians are called to serve each other and the less fortunate. Many Christians volunteer on a regular basis with an organization or do different projects with their faith groups, advocating for justice and peace in our world.
Sikhs believe in One Immortal Being. To be a Sikh is to be a learner. Sikhs make no distinctions between gender, class or race and all Sikhs are to be committed to being saint soldiers. “Saint” indicates the importance of spiritual discipline, and “soldier” indicates one’s readiness to fight oppression. Sikhs are committed to meditation, earning an honest living and sharing wealth with the community.
Guru Granth Sahib.
Sikhs believe that one’s body is a temple and should be in service of the spirit. As such, one’s body must be treated with respect and as such, refrain from eating meat or consuming alcohol.
A gurdwara is the Sikh service, literally translated to mean “the door that leads to the Guru.” The purpose of the gurdwara is to uplift one’s consciousness through song, meditation and reading of the Guru Granth Sahib. Worshipping in community is particularly important in the Sikh tradition.