September 28, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS - As members of the St. Rita Parish Gospel Choir in Indianapolis lifted their voices in song, the crowd lifted their hands clapping in appreciation.

They were hands of not just Catholics, but also Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims and more.

The religious mix took place outdoors at the recent Festival of Faiths in downtown Indianapolis. It was the third year for the event, which promotes peace through understanding and cooperation among those of different faith traditions.

"The organization is really there to provide an opportunity for people to have a greater understanding of one another," explained Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference.

The interfaith centre "allows for the opportunity to come together and do that," he said.

"This festival is just an expression of that (coming together)."

Interaction was encouraged at the festival, which included 80 tents representing different religions, churches, organizations and societies.

"The archdiocese always needs to be in the midst of (interreligious efforts)," said Father Rick Ginther, director of the archdiocesan office of ecumenism.


It was Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relationship of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, "that broke this open for the world religions to be able to start to talk to each other," he said.

The goal of the archdiocesan presence at the festival, said Ginther, was "to show three different aspects of Catholicism: our charitable outreach, how we reach out to other religions and how we worship."