Sharing Vocations – October 2010

It is our pleasure to present you with the second issue of our Sharing Vocations leaders’ newsletter. Inside you will find:


Please join us in praying for the full recovery of Fr. Luis Duacastella, assistant to His Eminence, Jorge Maria Cardinal Mejia.

Members of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders offer their condolences to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the passing away of his beloved mother Libby (Louise) Sacks.

Leaders’ Milestones:

26-28 October

Rabbi David Rosen took part in the World Economic Forum’s Middle East summit, which was expanded to include North Africa and took place in Marrakech, Morocco.

Among the different sessions in which he was invited to participate were a panel on “Coexistence in the Middle East and North Africa” (against the background of the memory of the Golden Age of Al Andalus in medieval Spain – does it really represent the ideal of peaceful coexistence of Muslims with Christians and Jews?); and also the televised BBC debate on Making Peace in the Middle East.

October 17th

Happiness conference:

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Dalai Lama were key speakers at Emory University’s Center for the study of Law and Religion conference on The Pursuit of Happiness, an Interreligious Perspective.  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Dalai Lama first came together during the Third Meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders in Amritsar, November 2007 and this was their second meeting.’What do Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam teach us about the concept of happiness? What do these ancient traditions hold in common about this often elusive state of being, and what are their greatest points of difference? How do they define happiness? Is happiness the purpose of life, or is it a reward only available after life?’ To read more see the Emory University website.

August – October

Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche’s 2010 teaching schedule for Europe and the U.S took in dozens of cities and reached hundreds of participants.

Rinpoche has completed her Spring teachings in Europe, visiting Spain, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France and Poland. Her entire tour took in the US as well,  from the West Coast to the East coast of the United States and in France (again) and Greece. ‘She is demanding of her students and uncompromising about the dharma, and she is a rarity—a prominent Tibetan teacher who is a woman’, says, Trish Deitch Rohrer

September  23rd 

Dadi Janki has posted an inspirational meditation on Youtube.
Cleanliness – Inspirational Meditation #30 – wisdom of Dadi Janki – Brahma Kumaris

Seven Steps to Stillness:
1. Take a moment to be comfortable in your environment.
2. Keeping your eyes open, gently rest them on a chosen point somewhere in front of you.
3. Withdraw your attention from all sights and sounds.
4. Follow the thoughts suggested on the commentary
5. Acknowledge and appreciate the positive feelings and thoughts which may spring directly from this exercise.
6. Stay in these feelings for a few moments.
7. End your meditation by closing your eyes for a few moments and creating complete silence in your mind.

August 10th

Rabbi Michael Melchior on Jerusalem: A Sacred Space.
The Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion observed Abrahamic week by focusing on the most iconic of sacred spaces, considered by the three Abrahamic Faiths as the most holy of sacred places, Jerusalem.

Invited from Jerusalem to participate in the conversation were members of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths, who imparted both their understandings of how this penultimate sacred space came to be so regarded, as well as their visions of how it might be shared in peace.

Location: Chautauqua, NY, Hall of Philosophy, Chautauqua Institution

Text and audio-visual of his speech can be found here

August 6th

Abbot Notker Wolf in performance.
St. Benedict’s Abbey hosted the American Benedictine Academy. Abbot Notker Wolf, the current Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict, was among the presenters. Friday was capped off with a concert featuring Father Blaine Schultz, Sister Janelle Maes and Dr. Ruth Krusemark sharing their musical talents from behind the Abbey’s organ. Dr. Krusemark moved to the piano and was joined by the Abbot Primate on flute.

You can see the performance on Youtube

Achievements and Accolades:

September 25th

Ahmed Taoufiq, best known is Morocco as the Minister for Housing and for Islamic Affairs, has published his new novel, ‘Oualid wa ma Walad’.

Tetouan, 25/09/10- The writer and novelist, Ahmed Tawfiq, also Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, launched his new novel ” Oualid wa ma Walad ” at a launch event organized by the Alumni Association of the Fqih Daoud School in M’diq  this Saturday.

The event, held at the city’s House of Culture, was attended by several personalities including the chairman of the Ulema in the region, the mayor of M’Diq, elected officials and other figures and a large audience. Professors Mohamed Machbal, and Najib El Aoufi, two respected academics and literary critics from the Faculty of Letters of Tetuan University, addressed the audience, praising the writer, Ahmed Tawfiq, highlighting his talent as a novelist and his lauding his works.

Leaders in the News:

October 12th  – 14th

Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias presented a paper at Mary in the Modern World, a conference on the enduring significance of the Virgin Mary in today’s world, including her place in the Church’s life of prayer and her importance in music, literature, culture and art, at  Saint Mary’s College of California, His paper, Mary in Eastern Christianity: Icons of the Virgin,  focused on the sacred tradition of Marian icons in Eastern Christianity.

Recently, the Metropolitan was in the news when he, an American, applied for Turkish citizenship.

July: Metropolitan Nikitas of Dardanellia, the Director of the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkley, Calif. traveled to Istanbul to receive his Turkish citizenship. Metropolitan Nikitas (Lulias) is the first – and for the moment only – Orthodox bishop in the United States to have put in an application for Turkish citizenship. Speaking to The National Herald for Istanbul, Metropolitan Nikitas justified his decision to go ahead with process as follows. “If it’s about strengthening the Patriarchate, I’ll do anything.” He qualified his statement by adding “I left behind my home and my parents and went to serve our Patriarchate and Orthodoxy in Asia for ten years.” Metropolitan Nikitas was the inaugural Metropolitan of Hong Kong, before leaving his post in early 2007.

“I have not yet received my citizenship, but Turkish authorities requested that I come and fill out some paperwork,” he explained. He also noted that “they’re treating us wonderfully, and they visited the Patriarchate.”

Metropolitan Nikitas’ decision comes after a request made by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, following the current Turkish government’s assent to his request to grant Turkish citizenship to canonical bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate living outside of Turkey. This includes bishops living in patriarchal jurisdictions in Greece like Crete and the Dodecanese, as well as bishops from Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia.

August 9th

Swami Agnivesh has been in the news, leading protests against killings by police and security forces.

Members of the Indian Civil Society (ICS) led by Swami Agnivesh (c) participated in a protest in Srinagar on August 31, 2010, protesting the killings in the past two months of Kashmiris demonstrating against New Delhi’s rule. The delegation said that they plan to facilitate the interaction of pro-freedom leaders with people of various Indian states, to spread awarenesss about the aspirations of Kashmiris. The Muslim-majority Kashmir valley has been rocked by unrest since a teenage student was killed by a police tear-gas shell on June 11. Since then, 65 people have been killed as the security forces regularly opened fire to control angry separatist demonstrations triggered by each civilian death.

Indian social activist Swami Agnivesh addresses a rally in Lalgarh, some 130 Kms west of Kolkata on August 9, 2010. Thousands of people attended.

July 19th

HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal opened The World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies 2010 in Barcelona, Spain with the participation of over 2,700 experts.

The gathering, which was organized by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), included various sessions on the Mediterranean, Middle East and Muslim states in Asia.

In his opening speech, Prince El Hassan stressed the need to promote cultural ties among Middle East nations, noting the importance of developing joint policies to enhance contact at various levels.

HRH affirmed the need to consider the human dimension while drawing developmental plans, calling for closer relations between the Middle East and other parts of the world.

The Prince affirmed, in the presence of HRH Princess Sarvath El Hassan, the need to attach greater attention to water, environment and energy issues, calling for promoting freedoms and activating the common ground among universal cultures.

President of the International Advisory WOCMES Council Gunter Meyer, General Director of IEMed and President of WOCMES 2010 Senen Florensa, Rector of UAB Anna Ripoll, and Vice-President of the Catalan Government Josep-Lluis Carod-Rovira also took part in the opening session.

The World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies was held for the first time in 2002 in Germany and once again in 2006 in Jordan, and has become the main meeting point for experts, academics and researchers in humanities, social sciences and related disciplines of the vast region of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Muslim states in Asia.

Leaders’ Blog