Celebration, welcome, kick-off ‘Festival of Faiths’

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre, center, welcomed people of different faiths to the Cathedral of the Assumption on the evening of Nov. 9 to kick off the annual Festival of Faiths. Joining him in the sanctuary were, from left, Cantor Sharon Hordes, Salih Sefendira, Father Martin Linebach and the Rev. Dr. Alton Pollard III. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

The Cathedral of the Assumption’s gathering space was filled with chatter as people hugged and offered warm welcomes before this year’s Festival of Faiths opening celebration began Nov. 9.

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre, noting his pleasure at being able to participate in the festivities for the first time, welcomed attendees to the opening of the 26th annual Festival of Faiths “Sacred Stories: Contemplation and Connection,” taking place Nov. 9-12.

He asked his listeners to allow him to speak of their collective “belief in God, a supreme being or supreme beings” in terms of God, as is customary in his Catholic faith. He noted that those gathered recognize the need for faith, but they also recognize the need for unity in their diversity.

Cantor Sharon Hordes of Keneseth Israel Congregation, performed part of the Passover Haggadah called B’chol Dor Vador during the opening celebration of the Festival of Faiths Nov. 9. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

Quoting Pope Francis, he said: “Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is not a luxury, but something which our world, wounded by conflict and division, increasingly needs.”

Calling together people who are focused on a common good has “long been the stance of many different faith traditions,” Archbishop Fabre said. And today, that union is especially important in light of society’s growing secular culture, he said.

The Archdiocesan Gospel Choir performed during the opening celebration of the Festival of Faiths, getting listeners to their feet to sing and clap along. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

The archbishop was joined in the cathedral’s sanctuary by members of other faiths who took turns sharing rituals from their traditions.

Salih Sefendira of the Bosniak American Islamic Center of Louisville performed the Adan, the Muslim call to prayer.

Cantor Sharon Hordes of the Keneseth Israel Congregation sang part of the Passover Haggadah called B’chol Dor Vador.

Those who attended the opening celebration of the Festival of Faiths at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville Nov. 9 clapped along with the Archdiocesan Gospel Choir as they performed “Every Praise.” (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

And the Rev. Dr. Alton Pollard III, president of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, recited the Beatitudes.

The celebration brought singing, chanting, stomping, clapping and some 150 people to the downtown church.

Geshe Kalsang Rapgyal of the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion offered “Praise for Buddha of Compassion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Cantor Sharon Hordes and the Rev. Dr. Alton Pollard III chatted before the Festival of Faiths opening ceremony began Nov. 9. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

The Hindu School of Louisville performed a Hindu classical sacred dance.

Singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer shared two songs, accompanying herself on guitar for one and asking the crowd to accompany her by clapping and stomping for the other selection. The Archdiocesan Gospel Choir sang “Every Praise,” drawing participants to their feet, singing along and holding hands.

When the Archdiocesan Gospel Choir called on their listeners to take somebody’s hand, some in the crowd responded accordingly. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

It was an event Mayor Greg Fischer called “the city’s significant and most important.”

“This is a deeply intimate expression of a common heart,” the mayor said, which is much needed, especially during election season.

And for Brenda McWaters, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Assumption attending the Festival of Faiths for the first time, it was a sign of hope.

“I hope it repairs our world,” she said. “It’s certainly repairing my heart.”

Students from the Hindu School of Louisville performed a Hindu classical sacred dance and explained the meaning of namaste, “the divine within me bows to the divine within you.” (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

 

Carrie Newcomer, a singer and songwriter, performed several songs during the opening celebration of this year’s Festival of Faiths Nov. 9 at the Cathedral of the Assumption. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

Archbishop Fabre stood at the altar to face Owsley Brown III, chairman of this year’s Festival of Faiths, during his welcome address at the opening celebration Nov. 9. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

From left, Anam Thubten, Owsley Brown III, Ellyn Crutcher, Mayor Greg Fischer, Christy Brown and Tori Murden McClure listened as Archbishop Fabre led the celebration in a closing prayer during the Festival of Faiths opening event Nov. 9. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

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