Interreligious Relations

What are Interreligious Relations?

Interreligious relations are/speak to our relationships and efforts between the Catholic Church and people of other religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. For a full list of organizations, the office works with, see below. A few engagements and programs include:

Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC)
CRLMC is a group of religious leaders from the Metropolitan Chicago faith communities. The Council embraces a broad range of theological and religious traditions. Members meet regularly to discuss civic affairs and issues common to the numerous religious traditions represented by the Council. The Council is also a unified voice on social issues impacting people in the Chicago area.

In 2012, CRLMC assumed sponsorship of the annual Chicago Interfaith Thanksgiving Service with representatives from fourteen religious communities offering prayers of thanksgiving as part of the observance. The EIA office plays an active role in promoting the observance throughout the greater Chicago area.

The Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Each year, the EIA office participates in an interfaith Thanksgiving service sponsored by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and hosted by the First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple. During this annual tradition, prayers, readings and music are offered by several religious communities, and donations are collected to provide a Thanksgiving meal for those in need.

Parliament of the World’s Religions (PWR)

The Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Through encounter, dialogue, and engagement, the PWR creates opportunities in which people of goodwill come together in mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration. Participants seek harmony between communities and are not looking to form a single world religion. Catholic Christians witness to their faith in Christ at the Parliament. No one is allowed to proselytize. Instead, all are invited to enter into respectful dialogue from their own unique context and to learn about others and get to know them.

For more information on the next Parliament of the World’s Religions which will convene at McCormick Place in Chicago on August 14-18, 2023, click here

Annual Interfaith Memorial Observance for Indigent Persons
Each year, the Memorial Ministry for Indigent Persons commemorates the lives of indigent babies, children and adults who are buried in mass graves in Cook County, IL. The Ministry’s mission statement reads, in part, “… to provide awareness and education to the general public regarding individuals who have been buried in a potter’s field and to commemorate these lives through a worship celebration that gives glory to God as Creator and recognition to the sacredness of all human life.”

W. Earl Lewis, the Ministry’s founder, was a doorman working in Chicago in 1981 when he learned about the mass burials. Inspired by the need to raise public awareness of this situation, Lewis labored from 1984 through 1986 to set up a network and establish an annual memorial service for the indigent. By doing so, this even gives the community an opportunity to act as a “surrogate family” to those who died poor and without any family or friends, to claim their bodies or mark their passing. Working with the Cook County Coroner’s Office and the United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, the Memorial Observance was launched on May 1, 1986. Within a short time, memorial observances in Waukegan and New York followed. Over the years, there have been observances at churches and chapels around Cook County, paying tribute to the lives of approximately 7,000 babies, children and adults, many of whom were buried with their identity known only to God. The EIA office assists with coordinating the program and participating with prayers and music

Click here to read more about the 2017 event.

Interfaith Airport Chapels of Chicago (IACC)

IACC provides worship opportunities at O’Hare and Midway Airports for Christians and Muslims. An EIA staff member is on the Board of Directors.