SJU Dean Honored for Bridging Catholic-Jewish Relations

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, an interfaith program in Florida dedicated to open communications between the two religions, presented William Madges, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph's University, with their Eternal Light Award.

Madges is one of the creators of "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People," a nationally touring exhibit that examines the pontiff's ground breaking contributions to improving relations between Catholics and Jews. He will be honored along with Rabbi Abie Ingber and James Buchanan, the exhibit's other co-creators, at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club in Florida on March 9. The exhibit is running at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg now through April 13.

"I have enormous pride in this project and I feel so honored to be a part of it," said Madges. "Working with my Jewish and Christian friends to bring this under-told story to the world has truly been a blessing in my life."

The Eternal Light Award is presented each year to an individual or individuals who exhibit outstanding contributions to the cause of Catholic-Jewish dialogue. The award will be presented at a gala Eternal Light dinner.

The Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies is a cooperation between Saint Leo University and the American Jewish Community "dedicated to building mutual respect, understanding and appreciation between Jews, Catholics and all people of good will by providing opportunities for interfaith education and dialogue."

"A Blessing to One Another" was exhibited at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia from Oct. 18 – Dec. 23, 2007. It included photographs, video and artifacts in telling the story of the late pope from his childhood in Poland through his papacy.

"John Paul II embodied the papal title pontifex maximus; he was firmly committed to building bridges of understanding and mutual respect with people of other faiths," Madges said.

--David King '08

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