Weekly Feature



2016-04-14 / Lifestyles

Classes bring people of Catholic, Muslim faiths together


Attendees including Sister Christelle Sawicki of Cheektowaga take part in a discussion with April and Bayram Arman of Grand Island at the spring 2016 Generations of Faith program at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lancaster. Attendees including Sister Christelle Sawicki of Cheektowaga take part in a discussion with April and Bayram Arman of Grand Island at the spring 2016 Generations of Faith program at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lancaster. The recent spring session of the Generations of Faith program at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lancaster focused on the Muslim culture and religion and how to break down barriers and build bridges between different faiths.

Generations of Faith is an intergenerational faith formation program that during 2015 and 2016 has built its curriculum around the papacy and teachings of Pope Francis.

In previous meetings, the group studied the life of the Holy Father, with a “Who is Francis?” theme, and on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, which are integral to this year being designated a Year of Mercy by Pope Francis.

The Works of Mercy are actions that extend compassion and mercy to those in need, including feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and visiting the sick.

In the spring session, held during the first week of April, Generations of Faith participants examined the Pope’s emphasis on showing respect for fellow human beings: namely, Muslims and those of other faiths.

Area Muslim families were guests at Generations of Faith, as they provided insight into their religious and cultural beliefs and practices. Young children in the program used a book titled “About Being Different” and completed an art project creating different colored flowers to signify diversity and portray the theme that “Different is Good.” Videos, discussions and a presentation by the Rev. Paul Steller, pastor of St. Mary’s, also were part of the program

More than 300 people attended.

St. Mary’s holds Family Faith Formation classes on Sunday mornings from September through May, as well as traditional Faith Formation classes for children in grades kindergarten through five and EDGE and Life Teen for middle school and high school students, respectively.

In addition, a full menu of sacramental preparation programs is offered. Registrations are currently being accepted at the parish for the 2016-17 school year. For more information, visit www.stmarysonthehill.com or call the parish Faith Formation Office at 683-8564.

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