25th Anniversary2023-04-03T10:16:15-04:00

The Center for Interfaith Relations is delighted to celebrate

25 Years of
Festival of Faiths

In 2020, The Center for Interfaith Relations is celebrating its 25th annual Festival of Faiths. Join the celebration by learning more from our 25 year Festival retrospective.

2015 | 20th Annual Festival of Faiths | Sacred Journeys

Our 2015 Festival of Faiths, Sacred Journeys, went back to our roots with a deep look at the life and legacy of Thomas Merton 

The Center for Interfaith Relations sits at the corner of Fourth and Walnut streets in Louisville, the exact spot where on March 18, 1958, Merton had the epiphany that we are “all walking around shining like the sun.” Thomas Merton’s dialogue between other faiths, especially his conversations with the Dalai Lama and interest in Tibetan Buddhism, have served as the model for inter-religious conversations for the Center.  

The 20th annual festival began with a divine reading by a student of Merton’s, Brother Paul Quenon of the Abbey of Gethsemani. Theology professor Dr. Chris Pramuk spoke on topics of race and religion in the writings of Merton, and Buddhist teacher Roshi Jones Halifax discussed living Merton’s legacy in a compassionate city.  

September 18, 2019|

2014 | 19th Annual Festival of Faiths | Sacred Earth, Sacred Self

The 2014 Festival of Faiths, Sacred Earth, Sacred Self, sought healing of self and society through a faithbased look at the earth. An interfaith prayer service opened the festival with a call to re-awaken to a world of beauty and abundance.  

This 19th annual festival included a morning meditation led by Gerardo Abboud, founder of the Dongyuling Center in Argentina and translator for the Dalai Lama in Latin America. Wendell Berry showed us how to view the earth as a neighbor, and concepts of resilience were applied to our daily lives by social entrepreneurs Nina Simons and Kenny AusubelIslamic scholar Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, founder of Zaytuna College, led us in a talk entitled “Healing Self, Healing Society.” 

September 18, 2019|

2013 | 18th Annual Festival of Faiths | Sacred Silence

The 2013 Festival of FaithsSacred Silence: Pathway to Compassionredirected attention from the self to the other, creating a pathway to compassionProgramming was carefully curated to reflect the 2013 Festival’s dedication to highlighting the historic 1968 meeting of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Thomas Merton.  

We were privileged to collaborate with the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion, the city of Louisville and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in preparing a program of events leading up to the arrival of the Dalai Lama. 

 The Festival of Faiths and the Institute for Contemplative Practice also hosted an opening of an exhibit featuring the work of photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard. The exhibit, “Merton/MeatyardMeatyard/Merton,” included many of Meatyard’s iconic photos of Merton, along with eight original Thomas Merton calligraphies. 

September 2, 2019|

2012 | 17th Annual Festival of Faiths | Sacred Fire

The 17th annual Festival of Faiths, Sacred Fire: Light of Compassion, continued our investigation into roles of the primal elements in our spiritual lives.  

In 1995, elders from the Ojibwa tribe lit a sacred fire for international peace. Coals from this fire have been shared around the world, and in 2012, Native American spiritual leader Rupert Encinas and firekeepers of indigenous American traditions kept the light burning throughout the festival.  

The Rev. Joan Brown Campbell and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer set the standard for what defines a “compassionate city,” directing festival attendees and the city at large on how to follow the International Charter for Compassion. Our evening program featured a Whirling Ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes, combining meditative movement and classical Sufi music. 

September 2, 2019|

2011 | 16th Annual Festival of Faiths | Sacred Air

Our sweet 16th Festival of Faiths, Sacred Air: Breath of Life, explored our united need for the gift of clean air. The immensity of nature was in scope for the regional premier of Journey of the Universe, and we capped off the festival with a treeplanting ceremony in honor of the lungs of the planet.  

Seder for the Skies kicked off our 16th Festival of Faiths, Sacred Air: Breath of Life. Hosted by Rabbis Joe Rapport and Gaylia Rooks at The Temple in Louisvillethis interfaith observance allowed participants to engage in the prayers, poems, and songs of the Seder 

Our festival meditation room emulated a sacred grove, with each faith tradition hosting a day and sharing their breath in different ways. EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged her responsibility and ours to deal with climate change and legacy pollutants. 

Smith, Peter. “Hearing Bad News on 'Sacred Air'.” The Courier-Journal, 5 Nov. 2011, p. B3.

Smith, Peter. “Hearing Bad News on ‘Sacred Air’.” The Courier-Journal, 5 Nov. 2011, p. B3.

September 2, 2019|
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