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Interfaith prayer room becomes a reality

The new interfaith prayer room is located on the Priory Campus. Credit: Nancy Reyes

By: Nancy Reyes, Contributing Reporter

Resident Assistant Justin Thirstup saw a challenge when he began working at the Priory Campus’ Aquinas Hall and taking up diversity training: the non-Catholic students he worked with didn’t have a space for prayer. “Dominican is clearly a Roman Catholic university; however, our identity should not keep us from being open to those of other faiths,” Thirstup said.

After talking with Deb Kash and Director of University Ministry, Shannon Green, they agreed to look for a space and quickly settled on the old St. Dominic Chapel, which is located near the entrance, in front of the check-in desk at the Priory campus.

“I’m glad that Justin proposed an additional prayer room for other faiths,” Green said. “As Catholics, it is not our mission to get people to become catholic, but to embrace the diversity of our world. We are Catholic, and since we are catholic we want to reach out to people and develop an accepting community.”

Dominican already has an interfaith prayer room at the main campus, but Thirstup didn’t think that would work for the priory.

“To me it seems unfair that students of other faiths have to make a trip down Division every time they want to pray, Thirstup said.

Green also noticed conflict in regards to the availability of the interfaith prayer room at the Main campus.

“We are already looking into addressing the issue about having time-slots for the use of the prayer room.” Green said.

Spencer Campbell, a resident at Aquinas’s Hall, and leader of a spirituality group at Dominican is really glad about having an additional space at the Priory.

“I’ve used it, and I love the space,” Cambell said. “I love the Alter, the window, the flags with religion symbols, the Buddha, the Islamic rug, everything.

University Minister, Ann Hillman, is also pleased with the addition of another prayer room. “I think it’s great, the more room for prayer the better.” Hillman said. “The interfaith prayer room is for everybody, including students of the catholic faith.” She added.
The prayer room opened Tuesday, April 5h and will stay open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, just like the main campus prayer room. Anyone can use the room; the “interfaith” means all faiths are welcomed.

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