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Unity in Diversity: The 2nd Calgary Interfaith Breakfast 

On May 4th, the FCJ Centre staff and sisters had the privilege of attending the 2nd Calgary Interfaith Breakfast. It was an incredible experience to listen to the insightful and inspiring speeches delivered by Mayor Jyoti Gondek and The Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor Alberta to more than 200 faith leaders from different religious backgrounds.  

Mayor Jyoti Gondek shared that her Mom taught her the value of preserving language so we can preserve culture and faith. The hopes that Calgary Interfaith Awareness Day will provide a platform for people of all faiths, share customs, and strengthen ties in the spirit of mutual respect, peace and harmony.  

The Keynote Speaker, The Honourable Salma Lakhani, shared her personal journey from her home country Uganda, when her family was asked to leave, to being a refugee here in Canada. She mentioned that Canada is a country where there is hope and promise. She reminded us that each one of us has the duty to make sure that hope and promise that we talk about is felt equally by every single person who calls this country home.

She added that we are so fortunate to be in Canada because we bring along our country, and that we are allowed to share our beliefs, our value systems, our faith, and our culture. 

She also mentioned these two concepts:  

  1. “Wahkotowin” — a Cree word meaning kinship. Kinship towards one another regardless of where we've come from.  

  1. "Ubuntu" means "I am because we are”. This word is in her coat of arms to remind her every day that we are linked and interconnected to one another, and that what goes on thousands and thousands of miles away in the world does affect us here.  

During her talk, she mentioned what Rabbi Mark Glickman shared with her, an analogy of a rosary made of beads of different colors. Rabbi explained that the different colored beads represent our diverse backgrounds, including skin colors and religious affiliations. The thread that binds the beads together symbolizes our Canadian values of mutual respect and a sincere desire to understand and accept one another. 

Both women spoke during the breakfast about the importance of working together and the impact that faith communities have on the Canadian landscape. When the world is in chaos, it is good to come together as brothers and sisters of different faith traditions and set an example of how to disagree on some points and still being able to eat together in peace and harmony. As faith communities we are in a unique position to teach newcomers to Canada about the value of living in harmony with those of other faiths. 

We would like to give special thanks to Alicia from our outreach team who helped organize this event. At the FCJ Centre, we value the importance of interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and we have been an active member of the Calgary Interfaith Council, attending various events and meetings. We believe that fostering understanding and respect among different faiths and cultures is essential to building a more compassionate and inclusive community. We are committed to promoting these values through our work at the FCJ Centre. 

To end, we would like to share the words of Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer: 

Blessed is God who creates us varied and many, needing one another. 

Blessed are our traditions, varied and many, requiring each other. 

Blessed is our time together. 

May it provide nourishment for us and for our world. 



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