On Saturday, May 5, Loyola Academy World Religion students continued their exploration of other faith practices and places of worship with a visit to the Muslim Community Center’s mosque in Morton Grove.
“Nostra Aetate, a document of Vatican Council II, invites Catholics to enter into dialogue and collaboration with members of other religious traditions,” explains Theology Teacher and Senior Gesu Chapel Program Coordinator Mr. Christopher Howe.
Responding to the Church's call, General Congregation 34 of the Society of Jesus speaks about levels of dialogue that include sharing in prayer and theological exchange. “World Religion students engaged in these two goals during their visit to the mosque,” says Howe.
Students listened as Imam Nazim Mangera of the Muslim Community Center spoke about the rationale behind some of the fundamental principles of Islam, such as the Five Pillars. Ramblers toured the interior of the mosque and Imam Mangera explained the architectural purposes of unique structures like the minaret.
“I was most intrigued to learn the architectural structure of the mosque,” says senior Noah Connolly. “Mosques were built in the Middle East with a dome so that heat could escape from the top.”
Students also had the opportunity to witness midday prayer and finished their visit with a discussion about the positive role of religion and how people of any religion can and do pervert religious truths to fit their own malicious ends.
“One concept that really stood out to me was the emphasis on peace,” says Chiamaka Osuji ’18.
For senior Sarah Vinci, it was the opportunity to visit a mosque during prayer that was the most memorable part of the experience. “I think it’s valuable to have new experiences like this,” she says. “It helps us to really experience a different religion instead of just hearing about it in class. And, as students of Jesuit education, we are called to be open to growth by trying something new.”
“On the way to the mosque, I felt apprehensive about my behavior and insecure about my attire, uncertain of the dress code or expectations for visitors,” admits Sarah Bouchard ’18. “However, all of my fears dissipated upon arriving, as our group was welcomed with a warm invitation from a kind member of the mosque. I truly felt a conversion in my sentiments when I arrived.”
In February, World Religion students visited the Buddhist Temple of Chicago. To learn more, click here.