The Creighton community joined in celebration of its diverse faith and spiritual traditions at the Interfaith Prayer Service held on Feb. 5 at St. John’s Parish.
The service was prepared and led by Campus Ministry and the Interfaith Core Team, a group of students with various faith and spiritual identities who facilitate interfaith learning and experiences around campus.
Held annually during Founders Week, the Interfaith Prayer Service featured prayer and worship elements from students of Buddhist, Christian, Diné, Muslim and Sikh traditions.
There were around 200 attendees, including more than 100 representatives from various organizations, offices and departments on campus.
While planning the event, the interfaith team took time to reflect on what is happening in their own lives, the Creighton community and the world in order to create a theme for the service that the community can pray for throughout the service. The theme that emerged was “Practice Gratitude: Live with Empathy and Respect.”
In her introductory remarks, vice provost for Mission and Ministry Eileen Burke-Sullivan said that gratitude is integral to the Daily Examen, the daily prayer of the Jesuits.
“All faith traditions represented here today include a practice of gratitude that leads us to treat each other with empathy and respect,” Burke-Sullivan said.
The service included a communal prayer written by students from their own reflections that were then joined together to form one prayer. This prayer and a tapestry created by the reflections of the Creighton community are what made this year’s Interfaith Prayer Service special, according to Faith Formation coordinator Beth Samson.
“In November, [Campus Ministry] had our House of Hope and invited students to reflect on gratitude, writing their responses on strips of fabric,” Samson said. “We then took these 100 responses and wove them into a tapestry. The Interfaith Core Team learned from member Toya Brady about the significance and style of weaving in her Diné tradition. Each student then took around an hour to pray with each of the words written on the fabric strips as they wove them into the tapestry that hung during the service.”
Brady is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.
At the close of the service, all attendees participated in the Ceremony of Light, which left St. John’s illuminated only by each individual’s candlelight and the radiance of a winter sunset outside of the church.
“From the light of nine students who created the sacred space of the Interfaith Prayer Service came enough light to spread throughout St. John’s,” said Samson. “All those in attendance then took their light out into their lives, their communities, classrooms, residence hall rooms, departments and gathering spaces to share that light even further. Our world is brighter and more filled with hope when we share our authentic selves—this is what the Ceremony of Light symbolizes and helps us make real.”
College of Arts and Sciences senior Clara Crenshaw was a representative from the Division of Student Life at the service. This was her first time participating in the event, and she will remember it for its uniqueness, as well as its significance within the Creighton community.
“It’s important to recognize and celebrate cultures, religions and practices other than our own,” Crenshaw said. “This connects us to those in our community that are different from us and allows us to think outside of ourselves and see things in a different frame of mind.”