Traveling Together On An Unfamiliar Road

Jewish-Catholic Institute looks at modern interfaith relations

Thursday, October 4, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (October 4, 2007) – Thanks to the diversity of religious faith in the United States, Catholics and Jews have worked together in various social movements and have modeled interreligious dialogue for the rest of the world. This unprecedented relationship has developed since the Second Vatican Council and presents new challenges and opportunities for Jews and Christians everywhere. But what is distinctive about the American context?

On Monday, October 15, at 7:30 p.m., the Jewish-Catholic Institute of Saint Joseph's University will host an interfaith lecture to address this question. Speaker Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., the founding executive director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College will deliver Travel on an Unfamiliar Road: Catholic-Jewish Relations in the United States Today, in the Haub Executive Center of McShain Hall, located off City Avenue on Lapsley Lane. A reception will precede the lecture at 6:30 p.m.. The event is free and open to the public.

"Dr. Cunningham is especially well suited to discuss the state of Jewish-Catholic relations in the United States today because of his broad experience with the Alliance of Jewish-Catholic Study Centers. He is literally the central person to speak on this topic," said Donald Clifford, S.J., the founder and director of the Jewish-Catholic Institute.

Cunningham's lecture will be an overview of the accomplishments in Jewish-Catholic relations since Vatican II, a look at the issues surrounding the dialogue today, and his thoughts on what the future might hold in this fertile arena.

Cunningham is a member of the Advisory Committee on Catholic-Jewish Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has also served as a delegate for the Vatican at international conferences about Catholic-Jewish relations. He is the author of numerous books and articles; his most recent books are A Story of Shalom: The Calling of Christians and Jews by a Covenanting God and Sharing the Scriptures, both published by Paulist Press. He also co-edited Christians and Jews Since Vatican II: Recent Reflections from Rome, which will be published next month by Fordham University Press.

The movement to foster dialogue among Jews and Catholics in the United States has led to the creation of more than 25 interfaith centers nationwide.The Jewish-Catholic Institute of Saint Joseph's University was one of the first of these centers to be established. It began in 1967 in the immediate wake of Vatican II. For 40 years, the goal of the Institute has been to increase knowledge and deepen understanding between the Jewish and Catholic communities in the Philadelphia area. This lecture will bring the yearlong celebration of the 40th anniversary to a close.

For more information about the interfaith lecture and the Jewish-Catholic Institute, contact Fr. Donald Clifford, S.J., at 610-660-1439.

Media Contact

 Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,

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