Religion

St. Aloysius marks Catholic Schools Week

Submitted by ST. ALOYSIUS CATHOLIC SCHOOL An open house, mayoral address and teacher/student appreciations will highlight a week of activities at St. Aloysius Catholic School in honor of Catholic Schools Week on January 28-February 3. “So many good things happen at our school year round, and Catholic Schools Week is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the great successes of our faculty and students,” said Andrea Puhl, principal. “I particularly encourage the public to visit St. Aloysius during our  pen house and experience the education of which we are so proud.” The open house kicks off the weeklong celebration, which will be held Sunday, Jan. 28 from 11:15 a.m.  to 1:30 p.m., following the 10 a.m. Mass; all are welcome. Building tours will be available, as well as presentations for preschool (11:30 a.m.), junior high (11:30 a.m.) and kindergarten (12:00 p.m.). Other activities throughout the week include:  Monday, Jan. 29 Community service projects by various grades.  Tuesday, Jan. 30 Bowling Green Mayor Richard A. Edwards will present a proclamation to the entire school at 2:45 p.m.  Wed., Jan. 31 Students get to dress up as their future profession. Sweet treats will be distributed to locations around the community who help show students the way to success.  Thursday, Feb. 1 Teacher luncheon in gratitude for their service. All-school liturgy and dress-up day.  Friday, Feb. 3 School spirit day, treat at lunch, plus a Catholic Schools Week gift for all. Academic pep rally, followed by 1BookBG kick-off for preschool-Grade 5. More information on St. Aloysius School is available at www.stalbg.org.

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People of different faiths bust barriers to peace

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   People of many faiths busted some myths that stand in the way of peace, during the third annual Interfaith Breakfast in Bowling Green Wednesday morning. More than 250 people gathered for food, fellowship and to break down walls that have been built between faiths over centuries. “If ever there were a time for a candle in the darkness, this would be it,” said Rev. Lynn Kerr, of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. “The more we learn from one another,” she said, “peace is possible.” Speakers from Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Native American, Buddhism and Christianity tried to bust myths surrounding their faiths. Rehana Ahmed, a member of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, was born and raised in Pakistan where she attended a Catholic school. That glimpse of another faith gave her an understanding of others. “That has made me a better human being. At the core, we are all the same. What hurts me, hurts other people.” In her job at Sky Bank, Ahmed told of a customer asking her to do something she was not legally able to do. She remained quiet as he spewed several four-letter words at her. But when he told her to go back where she came from, Ahmed asked him if he was a Native American. “You and I can go back on the same boat,” she said to him. “These are trying times for all of us,” Ahmed said. “Let’s ask questions before we make a judgment.” Srinivas Melkote, who is a Hindu originally from India, addressed the immigrant stereotype first. “I’m not a drug dealer,” he said. “I don’t murder people.” After living in Bowling Green for decades, Melkote still gets questions about how often he gets to go home. Every day after work, he responds. Though the oldest continuous religion, Hinduism is misunderstood by many. “It’s extremely tolerant,” and is based on reaching higher knowledge, he explained. Cows are considered sacred, since they give milk like mothers. But other common myths are false, such…


Muslim students build bridges with BG community

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some bridges were strengthened Sunday between local Muslims, Christians and Jews. The ravine between Muslims and other faiths in America has grown during the past year – emphasizing the differences rather than the similarities between people of varying faiths. So on Sunday, Muslim students from Bowling Green State University, asked the community to join them for a “Meet the Muslims” gathering at the Wood County District Public Library. “This is how it starts,” a Muslim student said, pointing out that both Islam and Christianity  promote love for others. “We are all brothers and sisters in humanity. It’s on us to get to know one another.” Adnan Shareef, president of the Muslim student group, said that stereotypes are allowed to fester and grow if nothing is done to stop them. “All of us are affected by stereotyping,” Shareef said. “Unless we communicate and interact with people. Through interaction, stereotypes can change.” In the current political climate in the U.S., the community gathering was a serious undertaking for students of the Muslim faith. “It takes a lot of courage,” said Marcia Salazar Valentine, executive director of the BGSU International Programs and Partnership. But the students were not alone, reminded Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon. “Events like this today are needed now more than ever,” Gordon said, speaking of the “venom of Islamaphobia” being spread since the presidential campaign and election. He spoke of the growing number of hate crimes targeting Muslims, and the travel ban executive order signed by President Donald Trump. “This is not our America,” Gordon said. This has become a nation where hateful campaign rhetoric is turning into national policy. This isn’t the first time refugees have been turned away at America’s borders, he said. In 1939, many Jewish refugees coming into America were refused entrance. So Trump’s signing of his travel ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day was particularly hurtful, Gordon said. “America, after all, was built by immigrants and refugees,” he said. “We need to stand together.” Bowling Green…


Scholar helps guide BGSU musicians toward Holy Week presentations of St. John Passion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mark Munson has been waiting for the academic and liturgical calendars to align. The director of choral studies at Bowling Green State University wanted a year when Good Friday fell late enough in the semester to allow time to prepare and present J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion on Good Friday. This is the year, and this past week the singers and musicians started the final phase of preparation. The passion oratorio, originally presented on Good Friday, 1724, is a large undertaking that involves soloists, the University Choral Ensemble, and the Early Music Ensemble, directed by Arne Spohr. To help this large contingent of students, faculty and community members prepare, a leading scholar and tenor Christopher Cock, of the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University in Indiana, visited campus. In the passion, Bach relates the story of Jesus’ trial and execution using the text from the Gospel of John, with reflections by soloists and the choir. Cock has sung the role of the evangelist in the St. John Passion 50 times as well as conducted it on several other occasions. His choir has been in residence at St. Thomas in Leipzig where the piece was first presented, a rare honor for an American choir. He was at BGSU as the Helen McMaster Endowed Professor in Vocal and Choral Studies. For many of the students involved this will their first time playing it. “I’m getting chills just thinking about you’re experiencing this work for the first time,” he told them. Cock spoke about how Bach brought the theology to life in the music. “The debasement of being nailed to the cross,” he said, “was the only way Jesus could realize his full divinity.” That comes through in the instrumental introduction. The winds play a series of notes that overlap to create a dissonance “like a nail piercing a skin.” Cock said. The strings are restless, rustling, unsettled. The lower strings relentlessly lead the way to the choir’s entrance. This music may indeed have gotten Bach into trouble,…


Bach expert to help prep BGSU musicians for Passion

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Renowned Bach expert and premier lyric tenor Dr. Christopher M. Cock will share his knowledge and love of the composer with students in the College of Musical Arts and local audiences March 13-15 as the 2017 Helen McMaster Endowed Professor in Vocal and Choral Studies at Bowling Green State University. Cock holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music at Valparaiso University and is director of its Bach Institute. During his residency, he will give a public lecture and work with the BGSU Collegiate Chorale, voice and conducting students and the Early Music Ensemble as they prepare to perform Bach’s “St. John Passion” in April during the Easter season. All events and activities are free and open to the public. Cock will discuss his life’s work in a public presentation titled “J.S. Bach and the St. John Passion: A Lifelong Pursuit” at 10:30 a.m. March 14 in 1040 Moore Musical Arts Center. In addition, audiences may hear the ensembles in performance, beginning with the Early Music Ensemble with soloists at 8 p.m. March 13 in the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St. in Bowling Green. On March 14, he will lead the University Choral Society at 7:30 p.m. in 1040 Moore Musical Arts Center. On March 15, he will again lead the Early Music Ensemble with soloists, at 8 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church. His visit will also include a voice master class and work with undergraduate choral conducting students. Through his activities as a choral music educator and distinguished solo artist, Cock has forged a unique career path combining the roles of conductor and performer. He frequently brings his focus on outstanding repertoire, vocal technique and polished musicality to high school ensembles throughout the country. He has also conducted All-State Choirs in Minnesota, Georgia and Ohio and the Collegiate Honor Choir in Pennsylvania. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall as guest conductor of the New England Symphonic Ensemble. In 2004, he founded the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University. The…


Community stands with Muslims over travel ban

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   During his 35 years in the U.S., Imam Talal Eid said he has never criticized an American president. Even during the campaign, when Donald Trump made hateful statements about Muslims, Eid held his tongue. “He’s the president, I’m sure things will be OK,” Eid said once Trump took office. Then came the executive order that effectively banned Muslims from seven countries from entering the U.S. And Eid, director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo in Perrysburg Township, cautioned church officials to pray for the divided nation but not criticize Trump. But then the stories came of families separated, Muslims returned to dangerous lands, people’s lives at risk. “I started to hear the tragedies,” Eid said. “I broke my silence. Innocent people are being harmed in the name of our nation.” Eid spoke Sunday afternoon to a mosque crowded with members and strangers who wanted to offer their support in the face of the travel ban. The audience overflowed out of the sermon room into prayer room. “This is the first time that I feel that my country, my president is trying to kill the morale of innocent people,” he said. He spoke of the agony that families already go through to get entry into the U.S. “You may not be aware that people sell their homes to come to America and have a good life,” the Imam said. Eid said he  has always clung to the Constitution, which is guided by the belief that people are all created equal. “I always speak of the ethics of the Constitution.” But that document appears to be under attack, as are Muslims, he said. “Isn’t it true that Muslims are not the only immigrants,” Eid said, noting that Muslim Americans contribute to their communities. He is not opposed to measures that are truly intended to keep America safe – but this travel ban will only act as ammunition for those who hate the U.S., he said. People being turned away from…


Peace Lutheran powers Christian mission with light from the sun

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Peace Lutheran demonstrates its faith by the cross that rises high atop its steeple. The solar panels that were installed recently are also a demonstration of the congregation’s faith. “Here’s a faith expression that God is resourceful and generous,” said Pastor Deb Conklin. The solar panels fit in its Creation Care ministry. The solar panels were paid for by a behest from long-time neighbors Leonard and Margaret David. On Sunday, Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m. the church will dedicate and give thanks for the solar panels and donation as part of its 10:30 a.m. worship experience. The donation was a surprise, Conklin said. The Davises were not members of a congregation, though Mrs. Davis did attend some of the church’s many community functions. Conklin had already been considering what environmental action the church could do and had attended an Ohio Interfaith Power & Light conference. She’d also discussed the environment and what the church could do with local activist Neocles Leontis. Then in 2014 the lawyer handling the Davis estate stopped by the church with a $5,000 check. That was, he informed her, just the start. She wasn’t at the church, she said, when the rest came. A check for $120,000. Conklin said the church already had a vision fund in place and that’s where the money was put. Working with Harvest Energy Solutions of Jackson Michigan, the solar panels were installed this winter, and have been operating for several weeks. The contractor also provided an app that allows the congregation to monitor how much electricity is being produced. Conklin said the church expects to save 25 percent on its utility bill with the solar panels. That won’t just come off the budget’s bottom-line, she said. That money will be used for its ministry. “That’s what’s important,” she said, “not to save money for us but to do more ministry.” That means “to enhance our vision to create a Christ connection to the community.” The goal is not to proselytize “but we’re trying to…