[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkMDBIPp4gE&autoplay=0&rel=0]

By: Keith Runyon

As the River City Drum Corps led the way, hundreds of people gathered Tuesday afternoon, May 13, at the Cathedral of the Assumption for an Interfaith Service: A Call to Prayer. This was the official beginning of the 2014 Festival of Faiths: “Sacred Earth Sacred Self.”

In the words of Dr. Kathleen Lyons, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Relations and organizer of the service, “The call to prayer will be expressed in the universal language of music. In response to this call, we as an interfaith body proclaim together, ‘I’m sacred, and you are too.’”

Congregants entered the historic Cathedral as members of the West Louisville Boys and Girls Choirs sang, in this order, “Ezekiel” by William Dawson, “Amazing Grace,” and “Good News” by William Dawson.

Then, Father Jeff Nicholas, pastor of The Cathedral of the Assumption, welcomed everyone and offered his comments on the Festival theme. Then, he blessed each group of prayer leaders with the statement: ‘I’m sacred, and you are too.”

The first to perform was a trio from the choir of the Cathedral who sang “Alleluia Chorus.” Then, a quintet of Buddhist monks, dressed in their traditional gold and scarlet robes and headpieces, chanted a prayer using long horn, cymbals, and bells.

Young Lev Rooks-Rapport, son of the rabbis at The Temple in Louisville, blew the shofar to lead of The Bar’chu, a call to prayer sung by The Temple Choir, Shir Chadash. Among those singing was Rabbi Gaylia Rooks-Rapport, Lev’s mother.

Then Dr. Faiz Khader filled the Cathedral with his chanting of a Muslim call to prayer, An Adhan. He was followed by Frank van der Palen who sang an Indigenous “Spirit Calling Song.”

Continuing the interfaith spirit of the occasion, two prayers were offered by members of the Baha’i faith – Arash Taarifi and Rita Butler. Finally, a colorful Hindu sacred dance was performed by young students of Akila Iyer. These young worshipers were so diminutive that scores of congregants rose from their seats to come forward and to get a better look at them.

After this amazing concluding dance, Owsley Brown III, chairperson of the 2014 Festival of Faiths, spoke from the pulpit, describing his aspirations for this Festival. He was followed by Mayor Greg Fischer, who led the congregation in a closing prayer for our sacred youth:

We, an interfaith body of believers,
Now answer the Call to prayer heard at this Service.
Together we pray in gratitude for
Divine Love that makes our Earth
and all the life that it sustains

THIS EVENING we celebrate in particular
our city’s young people. Our loving prayer for all
of our city’s youth is that, throughout life’s good
times and bad, they will always take comfort in
by divine love and placed here in this life to
help one another.

We pray this confident of God’s love
and our sacredness, Amen.

The service ended with another performance by the high-spirited River City Drum Corps, and congregants proceeded to the Undercroft for a delicious dessert prepared by members of the Louisville refugee community, who seek to be self-supporting through their newly established catering service called Gourmet Treasures, featuring international sweets and snacks. For more information, contact Surekha Kulkarni (502) 345-2669.