17 August 2020

A Journey through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Space with the Interfaith Digital Caravan

John Paul II Center alumni leaders network continues the Interfaith Digital Caravan launched in June. The third webinar of #IRDCaravan will take place on Wednesday August 19 on the topic of A Journey through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Space. Speakers and participants of the webinar will discuss some biblical passages on the theme of the encounter and will give a presentation on the symbolism of water in the architecture of ancient Rome.

The Interfaith Digital Caravan is an initiative of the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue. It is a creative approach to the current COVID-19 crisis. The purpose of this webinar series is to strengthen the spirit and hope by sharing stories, thoughts, and practices in an interfaith environment. Not only speakers share their experiences, but every participant can also ask a question and share their thoughts. Every webinar becomes a digital platform where people from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures cross boundaries in a virtual space, while the physical boundaries are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The first Caravan on Solitude took place on June 16. Adam Afterman, Co-Director of the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue, raised a question: “Is solitude a spiritual value in Judaism?’ Taras Dzyubanskyy, John Paul II Center Senior Alumni Adviser, presented the Christian view on Solitude and organized a virtual tour to the Vatican Necropolis, a place of solitude and glory. Moderated by John Paul II Center Alumna Emily Judd, we invited Pavlo Tabakov, an award-winning singer of the Voice Ukraine, to perform Hallelujah and Go down, Moses songs.

The second Caravan was held on July 15. The main theme was Spiritual Battle with the Current Pandemic. John Paul II Alumni Celestine Muonwe, James Miriago, Mak Caesar Abagna, and Richard Gokum participated in the panel discussion on how Africa declares “war” on COVID-19. The next session included stories from Auwal Farouk Abdussalam and Raghda El Halawany. The idea of spiritual “war” on COVID-19 was revealed through the speech on jihad as a spiritual battle in Islam, as well as the stories of about Walls of Connection, an interfaith project of MasterPeace Global. The webinar also included the live performance of a sand art by Ilana Yahav.

If you’d like to participate in the third Caravan, please register here.

In sharing posts about the Interfaith Digital Caravan, please use #IRDCaravan hashtag. If you’d like to stay up to date, you can follow #IRDCaravan on our Facebook and Instagram.


Speakers of the third Interfaith Digital Caravan:

Catrin Williams

Catrin Williams teaches New Testament and Judaism studies at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She also teaches modules on Judaism, Christianity and Hermeneutics for the Professional Doctorate in Interfaith Studies. Dr. Williams is an editor of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, a member of the editorial board of the monograph series The Library of New Testament Studies, and a peer reviewer for a number of publishers. Her area of academic interests includes the Gospel of John, the interpretation of the Jewish scriptures in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity, post-biblical Judaism, ancient media culture.

Caterina Ruscio

Caterina Ruscio is an archaeologist and professor of Early Christian art in the American University of Rome, Institute for The International Education of Students. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Malta’s Faculty for the Built Environment. Her academic interests focus on the management of tourism on religious sites. Caterina collaborates with the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas for interfaith dialogue courses. She has a background in cultural heritage and has been working as a guide for the Vatican Museum since 2008. Caterina Ruscio has published articles about archaeology and history in the online Enciclopedia Microasiatica Graeca and the magazine Forma Urbis.

Allyson Zacharoff

Allyson was a student of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and received a Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies. She also studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem as an inaugural Conflict Resolution Fellow and at Hartford Seminary as part of the International Peacemaking Program. During 2014-2016 she worked as the founding Coordinator of the Multifaith Alliance. Allyson is also a member of ACWAY (A Common Word Among the Youth), a group that fosters interfaith and intercultural dialogue. She also writes a blog Of Christmas and Kreplach

McKenzie Fergus

McKenzie Fergus is a Russell Berrie Fellow and a student of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. She received her Master of Divinity Degree at Yale Divinity School. She is currently working as a research professional in Washington D.C. for The Religious Freedom Institute, an NGO that promotes religious pluralism. Her area of academic interests also includes intersection of biomedical mental healthcare and faith-based healing. She is also a Diaconal Ordination Candidate in the United Methodist Church.