Mission at Alvernia While serving students of both Christian and non-Christian traditions, Alvernia University provides an atmosphere and an environment that foster inter-cultural, inter-religious discourse as well as civic engagement and social responsibility. In that spirit, current initiatives are underway reflecting both the university’s Franciscan heritage and Catholic intellectual tradition: ■ Uniting through I nterfaith Dialogue ■ The St. John’s Bible — Illustrated Heritage Edition Exhibit ■ Multi-Year Vatican II Lecture Series As a Franciscan university, Alvernia is committed to promoting interfaith dialogue, both as a path to mutual understanding but also as a way for us to better understand our own faith traditions. These conversations help to illustrate that there is more that unites us than divides us, and that talking to one other can help us all overcome the stereotypes and fears that too often divide us.
“We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one.” — Pope Francis Coming on the heels of Eboo Patel’s appearance on Alvernia’s campus, the university is partnering Patel’s Interfaith Youth Core to give students of different religious traditions an opportunity to talk about shared values. Alvernia is also an active participant in A Common Heart — an organization that works to increase tolerance, understanding and respect among the interfaith community, and annually grants the Fromm Interfaith Award to an Alvernia student who demonstrates leadership in interfaith dialogue.
“Vision of the New Temple,” by Donald Jackson (2005) for The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Minn. This early floor plan from the 17th century reconstruction of the temple has been suffused with the intersecting bows of light—”like the bow in a cloud on a rainy day” as Ezekiel had seen by the river Chebar. The seven colors of the rainbow echo the many sevens in the text and also serve as a motif for God’s presence in the illumination of Ezekiel’s Vision with the scroll and Isaiah’s Vision of God in the temple.