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Catholic and Muslim youth share faith, witness to unity

When the Muslim community in the greater-Milwaukee area announced plans to build a new mosque in Brookfield, which is home to our parish of St. John Vianney, we were proud to invite our Muslim brothers and sisters into our parish hall for a neighborhood meeting. Since then, our relationship with the community at Masjid Al-Noor mosque has blossomed. Through our joint participation in an interfaith group called Brookfield-Elm Grove Interfaith Network, or BEGIN, we have welcomed members of one another’s faith communities to our respective places of worship on numerous occasions.  Youth from our parish and from Masjid Al-Noor participate in an interfaith youth program that our youth minister helped start. During Ramadan, the youth leaders planned a Food! Friends! Faith! event which welcomed 75 youth to the mosque for shared prayer, presentations, and a simple meal. The youth are now planning an intergenerational, interfaith April Food’s Day trivia night on faith and pop culture. This past Fall, our parish hosted BEGIN’s interfaith Thanksgiving prayer service, where a variety of faith leaders shared prayers from their traditions, including Masjid Al-Noor’s young imam. Youth from our communities together created a moving video about faith as the common thread which unites the youth with God and with one another. We see our parish’s participation in these efforts as responding to the Second Vatican Council’s call for Christians and Muslims “to work sincerely for mutual understanding” and to together seek “social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom” (Nostra Aetate, no. 3).  We believe that our relationship with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and with people of all faith traditions, strengthens our own faith and is an important witness of Christ’s call to love our neighbors.