Louisville is once again celebrating religious diversity and cultural unity with its 18th annual Festival of Faiths. Typically held in the fall, this particular event beginning on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 is coordinated by the Center for Interfaith Relations in conjunction with the Dalai Lama’s visit to Louisville. Prior to the “Engaging Compassion” events hosted by the Drepung Gomang Institute, the Center of Interfaith Relations will offer a variety of programs focused around this year’s theme called Sacred Silence: Pathway to Compassion. The Festival of Faiths will take place at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Galt House Hotel tomorrow through Sunday, May 19. His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, will present his Public Talk and Public Teaching at the KFC YUM! Center on May 19 and 20.
The Center of Interfaith Relations continues its dedication of promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation with the 2013 Festival of Faiths. This year’s program of 20 events includes internationally recognized speakers, three guided meditations, films and a mini-retreat on Tibetan Buddhism. The presenters come from many faith traditions, but share the common goal of bringing compassion to the world. Some of the keynote addresses will be from Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, ecumenical teacher Father Richard Rohr, Rabbi Arthur Green and many other scholars and spiritual leaders. One highlight will be an interfaith dialogue on the Festival’s theme scheduled for Saturday, May 18, followed by a dialogue on compassionate governing hosted by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
The Festival is also hosting an exhibit at PUBLIC, the Louisville Visual Art Association Gallery through May 22. This unique exhibit, called “Merton/Meatyard; Meatyard/Merton”, will feature a collection of photographs of Thomas Merton taken by Ralph Eugene Meatyard as well as some rare calligraphies by Merton.
The Festival of Faiths will open with an interfaith prayer service at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 14, at the Cathedral of the Assumption. According to Chris Wooton, Communications Director, over 8000 of the 10,000 tickets have already been sold for the week’s events. In previous years, only 3,000 to 4,000 have attended. “No other festival has brought in that kind of attendance,” noted Wooton. Some events are free, but may require tickets; certain events are sold out. For more information, you may call Actor’s Theatre of Louisville box office at (502) 584-1205 or (800) 428-5849; or visit the website at www.festivaloffaiths.org.
The Dalai Lama’s “Engaging Compassion” two-day programs are hosted by the Deprung Gomang Institute. For tickets or more information, visit www.dalailamalouisville.org.
The Festival of Faiths provides a unique, learning opportunity for the community to share compassion among diverse cultures and religions.