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Conference looks at ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue

By Gertrude Rompré


SASKATOON — More than 60 people gathered at St. Thomas More College to explore the theme of Dialogue and Diversity Feb. 27 — 28 in Saskatoon. Conceived as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, the Dialogue and Diversity Conference explored both ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.

Speaking from her experience of Hindu-Christian dialogue, Dr. Catherine Cornille from Boston College gave the opening address. She presented dialogue as an opportunity for mutual learning and outlined the challenge of bringing the fruits of inter-religious dialogue back to our wider faith communities. She called for a stance of humility and hospitality that allows us to learn from other traditions.

Dr. Eileen Schuller, from the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, is best known for her work with the Dead Sea Scrolls. On this occasion, however, she outlined how Jewish Christian dialogue has evolved in Canada since Nostra Aetate. In particular, she described her work with the Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation, a uniquely Canadian approach to Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon moderated the closing panel discussion with Cornille and Schuller. Exploring dialogue and diversity from a more experiential starting point, each of the three presenters shared their own best moments in dialogue and reflected on the similarities and differences between ecumenical and inter-religious encounters.

Other conference presenters included Dr. Brenda Anderson (Luther College, University of Regina), Héctor Acero Ferrer (Institute of Christian Studies, Toronto), Julien Hammond (Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton), Dr. Graham McDonough (University of Victoria), Dr. Alisha Pomazon (St. Thomas More College) and Dr. Scott Sharman (All Saints Cathedral College, Edmonton).

The Dialogue and Diversity Conference was sponsored in part by the Dubé Chair for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas More College.

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