Multi-Faith Dinner invites everyone to the table

by Alex Solari, Staff Writer
On Monday, September 26, there will be a Multi-Faith Dinner in Woodland Commons at 7 p.m. The dinner is free and all are invited to join as students converse with an array of people with different beliefs and faiths. Jillian Chan, a senior Graphic Design major, is one of the leaders of this event. She says, “The goal of the Multi-Faith Dinner is to bring together people of all faith or non-faith backgrounds. We really hope students will get to learn something new about other faiths, but also notice the similarities between our faiths.” This event was no one-man show, as it involved many leaders from different groups helping to plan and raise money. Keifer Martines, a junior Biology major, is one of these leaders. Regarding the experience he’s had, Martines explains, “It’s been really fun working with everyone of different majors and faiths and putting together something great for everybody!” The Center of Spiritual Life hosts this event with seven groups involved, including the Muslim Student Association, Christian Fellowship, InterVarsity, Center of Jewish Culture, Newman Catholic Student Association, Hillel, and the Pagan Living and Collaborative Education Society. Deacon Frank Lucca, the full-time campus minister of UMass Dartmouth, had a large role in planning this event. According to Lucca, the event will start with students sitting down with others of different faiths. Then, each faith group will explain their idea of hospitality. There will then be a game of “speed-faithing,” where the host of the activity will ask different faith groups questions about their beliefs, traditions, etc. When dinner is served, conversations will continue and the table will have to explain to the host what is similar about their faiths and what they have found to be different. Although this is the first Multi-Faith Dinner on campus, this isn’t the first dinner of its sort from UMass Dartmouth. Lucca explains, “Last year the Muslim Student Association sponsored a dinner and invited other groups to the dinner. This year, all the student faith groups met and decided that they would work together to plan one event.” According to Lucca, this event has been in the works since the spring, with each group contributing and planning. Though people of different faiths do not share the same ideals and practices, Deacon Frank Lucca hopes that this event will help initiate bonds. “This is the first time all of our student faith groups are working together that I know of,” he says. “I hope that that we will be able to continue to bridge the gaps between the religions and focus on what we share in common and what we can do together.” To him, the coming together of these faith groups can make a huge impact everywhere. He states, “When discussing religion and faith, many of our conversations are about the conflict of these beliefs. We talk about what’s wrong rather than the values we share and what we can do together to make the campus, the country, the world a better place.”
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