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Catholic-Muslim-Hindu-Protestant-Buddhist-Jewish leaders connect in dialogue



SPARKS, Nev. – In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Catholic-Muslim-Hindu-Protestant-Buddhist-Jewish leaders on Saturday, Jan. 8, had a dialogue in Sparks to explore connections among Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism.

Left to right: Imam Abdul Rahim Barghouthi, Rabbi Teri Appleby, Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Buddhist priest William Bartlett, Episcopal Rector Emeritus V. James Jeffrey, and Catholic Pastor Charles T. Durante during the interfaith dialogue.

This annual conference, titled “Born in God’s Image” and organized by Catholic Diocese of Reno, also compared, contrasted, and commented on similarities and differences between Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism as viewed through humor in their respective traditions.

Father Charles T. Durante, Pastor of Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Church of Carson City, facilitated this dialogue, and the interfaith panel explored some of the humor that lied within sacred texts and religious teachings of various faiths. “If we are born in God’s image, then laughter is surely an action of God”, announcement said.

Besides Durante, the participants included Episcopal Rector Emeritus Reverend V. James Jeffrey, Imam Abdul Rahim Barghouthi, Hindu leader Rajan Zed, Buddhist priest William Bartlett, and Jewish rabbi Teri Appleby. About 250 Catholics were in the audience.

Rajan Zed has congratulated the Catholic Diocese efforts in reaching out to other religions for a dialogue. “Religion is a complex component of human life. Dialogue helps us to see interconnections and interdependencies between religions and even similarities in doctrines,” Zed adds.

Besides interfaith dialogue, this two-day Catholic conference which concluded on January eight  also included workshops on Parenting, Ethics of Infertility Treatment, Imagining God, Using Media Technology in Ministry, Embracing Our Dying, etc., in addition to Sanskrit chants and an exhibition. This annual dialogue tradition would continue in the years to come, Durante added.

Catholic Diocese of Reno, established in 1931, covers 70,852 square miles spread in eleven Nevada counties in addition to Carson City. Before 1840, this area was under the Diocese of Sonora in Mexico, when it came under the jurisdiction of Bishop Moreno of California. Current Bishop is Most Reverend Randolph R. Calvo.

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