The Cathedral of the Assumption hosted the opening celebration of this year’s Festival of Faiths on Nov. 15, kicking off the festivities with music and traditional greetings from various faith traditions.
This year’s festival theme was “embodying love,” which Father Anthony Chandler said reminded him of Dionne Warwick’s song “What the World Needs Now” (is love sweet love).
“I can’t get it out of my head,” said Father Chandler, the cathedral’s rector, during his remarks.
Sarah Riggs Reed, managing director of the Center for Interfaith Relations which hosts the festival, said that “all faith traditions call us to love.”
And right now, “some faith communities are hurting,” she said. For “those that aren’t with us, hold their hurt and suffering in our prayers.”
Young people from several faiths showcased typical greetings found in their traditions. Children from St. William Church explained that Catholics say, “Peace be with you,” while shaking hands or hugging during the “Sign of Peace.”
Youth who attend Buddha Blessed Temple, explained why their culture traditionally greets one another by placing their hands together at chest level and bowing.
Youth from the Guiding Light Islamic Center told listeners that in their faith, “when you are greeted with love and peace, (you reply) with equivalent or greater love and peace.”
Father Chandler reminded those gathered that “we can always learn something” from one another and that the Festival of Faiths has been a good place to do that.
“People look to this festival as something different,” he said. “We’re talking about the needs of humanity. … What is it that we can learn from each other?”
Jim James, frontman for the Louisville band My Morning Jacket, performed twice during the event. He strummed a guitar while singing choruses from several songs.
By the end of his second set, all those gathered in the cathedral were singing together: “What the world needs now, is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
The festival continued through Saturday and included sessions on loving the stranger, bridging divides, enneagrams and Bhakti yoga. Trappist Brother Paul Quenon, a novice under Thomas Merton, served as a panelist in the session “Why is Love Sacred?”
Father Anthony Chandler, Vicar for Priests